A synthetic opioid normally used to sedate animals like elephants is present in the Lower Mainland, lab tests have confirmed.
Noticeably appearing for the first time in late 2016, carfentanil was found in 57 of 1766 urine drug tests conducted during this past January.
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Positive results were detected in samples originating from treatment facilities in Vancouver, Surrey, New Westminster, Maple Ridge, and Richmond.
“This is a limited sample size but does provide confirmation of the presence of carfentanil in B.C,” a government release said.
Carfentanil is similar to fentanyl but can be 100 times more toxic. In fact, one or two grains the size of salt grains can be fatal to humans.
It’s also made even more dangerous by the fact that “there is no reliable way for people to know if carfentanil or other potentially toxic components are in illegal drugs,” the release said. “The confirmed presence of the highly toxic drug reinforces the need for anyone using any illegal drugs to follow harm reduction measures.”
Positive results were detected in samples originating from treatment facilities in Vancouver, Surrey, New Westminster, Maple Ridge, and Richmond. “This is a limited sample size but does provide confirmation of the presence of carfentanil in BC,” the government said.
On its website, the BC government has provided options and advice to prevent or reduce the risk of an overdose.
As a result of the overdose crisis, police have prioritized investigative resources to target traffickers of these deadly illegal drugs, the release noted.”Because illegal carfentanil, fentanyl and other opioids are coming into Canada from China, the RCMP and the Chinese Ministry of Public Security has committed to work together to reduce the flow and disrupt the supply.”
Enforcement will “ultimately be stronger” across provincial and international borders through collaboration with BC’s international and federal partners.
Under proposed federal amendments to legislation with are currently before the federal legislature, the Canada Border Services Agency will also soon have new powers to inspect packages under 30g, which will assist with interdiction of small quantities of these illicit drugs.