A 28-year-old woman from British Columbia was banned for life from entering the United States after a US Customs and Border Protection agent searched her phone for two hours and found an email she'd written to her doctor about an accidental drug overdose. Chelsea had gone to a strip club in 2016 for a friend's birthday and one of the women in the party offered her some "cocaine" that turned out to be fentanyl. Her friend died and she was taken to the emergency room and saved after being injected with the opioid overdose antidote naloxone.
When border officials learned about the incident by taking Chelsea's phone and reading her email to her doctor, they informed her that she was being issued a lifetime ban from entering the US.
Canadians have also reported being banned from the US for admitting to smoking weed before. Since Trump has taken office, he's promised to crack down on border security, including the controversial "Muslim ban."
Waivers that temporarily allow entrance to the US like the one Chelsea is currently trying to obtain only last one to five years, so she'll need to get a new one every so often if she plans to keep visiting the States. Waivers cost $585 to apply for and take about six months to be issued.
Chelsea wants to warn others about how deeply they'll search smartphones at the US border. Even in the context of North America's current opioid crisis, which is killing thousands annually in the US and Canada, no extra compassion was given to someone who accidentally ingested fentanyl and nearly died from it. Instead, her story was used as potential evidence against her.
"I understand why they banned me… But it sucks that they used my warning story about doing drugs against me," Chelsea said. "How ironic."
Hospital image in collage: Presidencia de la República Mexicana/Wikipedia