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'I almost contemplated pulling over and kicking them out': Sarnia, Ont. Uber driver raises concerns after drug use discovered in vehicle

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A Sarnia Uber driver recently found evidence of drug use in his vehicle and turned to Uber for help with clean-up costs.

Uber driver Steven Cousins said a routine call took an odd turn on the afternoon of Nov. 30, 2023.

"I heard what sounded like tin foil being unwrapped,” he said. “The next thing I heard was the gentleman rider tell the female rider that she needed to try this."

Cousins said he has no experience with drug use, but was pretty sure he knew that's what was going on.

"At first I thought it was cocaine that they were ingesting,” he told CTV News London. ‘I didn't know until later that it was actually fentanyl they were consuming in the back of the Uber."

Cousins said his ordeal started when he stopped to pick up two customers at a townhouse complex on Devine Street. He was approximately three-quarters of the way to the destination when the odd behaviour started.

Sarnia, Ont. Uber driver Steven Cousins says a police officer told him a foil and powder inside his vehicle was likely tied to fentanyl use. (Source: Steven Cousins)"I almost contemplated pulling over and kicking them out but I was so close to the destination. It just became fight-or-flight at that point. I didn't want an altercation in my Uber and so decided to just drop them off,” he said.

His next stop after dropping the customers off was at Sarnia Police Service Headquarters.

An officer came out and helped remove a piece of tinfoil stuffed in the seat. When he opened the foil, it revealed reveal burn marks which the officer said likely held fentanyl. Powder marks were also discovered on the door.

Cousins gathered photographic evidence to provide to Uber.

He was worried the residue may be a risk to himself or his customers and immediately got it cleaned up, and expected Uber would compensate him or the cleaning fee. He had previously dealt with another situation where a clean-up was required and didn’t have any issues.

“I had an animal pee in my vehicle and they processed my costs for cleaning that up, no problem,” Cousins said.

He said that was a five minute process online, but this has been a very different experience.

Sarnia, Ont. Uber driver Steven Cousins says a police officer told him a foil and powder inside his vehicle was likely tied to fentanyl use. (Source: Steven Cousins)

"I don't know if they want to investigate the people's account more they're not 100 per cent sure of what I'm claiming is actually credible,” he explained. “So I'm not sure what it is they want."

Cousins is hopeful his claim will be resolved and stressed that he has enjoyed driving for Uber and interacting with customers.

CTV News London reached out to Uber Canada on Monday and late in the afternoon received a response email from statement from Uber Safety Communications representative, Gabriela Condarco-Quesada.

In the email, Condarco-Quesada said, “Our team will be reaching out to Mr. Cousins regarding the cleaning fee.”

She included a company statement which read, “We take the safety of the Uber community very seriously, and have a strict zero tolerance policy for drug use on the app. The driver’s report is concerning and our team will be reaching out directly to the driver to learn more.”

A link to Uber's community guidelines was also included in the statement. 

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