Drug that's 100 times more potent than fentanyl found in Vancouver

Nov 22 2016, 8:55 pm

A drug that is 100 times more potent than fentanyl has been detected for the first time in Vancouver according to the VPD.

The deadly synthetic opioid carfentanil was detected as part of a drug seizure in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside on September 20, say police.

“A man who was reported to be in possession of a firearm was checked by police in the north lane of Powell Street near Heatley” the VPD confirmed in a release. “When he was searched, he had a can of bear spray and several grams of a narcotic believed to be heroin. He was charged with drug-related offences.”

Two samples of that drug were submitted to Health Canada for analysis, which has since revealed the samples contained trace amounts of carfentanil, said police.

Dangers of fentanyl

Fentanyl has been a contributing factor to the huge spike in overdose deaths in BC that prompted the province to declare a public health emergency earlier this year.

The drug continues to be one of the province’s biggest killers, and the opioid was linked to 188 deaths between January 1 and May 30 this year alone. In total, there were 371 overdose deaths reported in BC for the first half of 2016, representing a 74.2% increase from the same period in 2015.

Signs of overdose

Following the discovery of carfentanil and the continued prevalence of fentanyl, police are warning opioid drug users, and anyone associated with them, to be aware of the signs of overdose.

Early signs of an opioid overdose include severe sleepiness, slow heartbeat, trouble breathing or slow, shallow breathing or snoring, cold, clammy skin, and trouble with walking or talking. If any of these signs are observed in someone who is believed to have taken illicit drugs, call 9-1-1 immediately.

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