The Comox Valley RCMP are advising that recent Health Canada tests have confirmed the presence of a synthetic cannabinoid/fentanyl combination powder in our community.
In October, the Comox Valley RCMP entered into a drug trafficking investigation in Courtenay. During the course of the investigation a number of exhibits were seized from a residence, including a small amount of powder. The powder was sent to the Health Canada Laboratory and was very recently confirmed to contain fentanyl, 5F-ADB (synthetic cannabinoid), caffeine and acetaminophen.
“We are very concerned about the confirmation of this synthetic cannabinoid and fentanyl in our community. This was a potent and potentially lethal combination of drugs,” said Cst. Monika Terragni, media relations officer, Comox Valley RCMP. “These substances have been associated with psychotic episodes, overdoses and were presented in such a way that users may have been unaware of exactly what they were consuming.”
Terragni said the powder was presented in a fashion that resembled heroin, and could have been snorted, or turned into liquid form and injected.
“They could do either,” she said. “It just depends what they think it is. This particular [sample] was in a powder and it looked like heroin. So people might not know what they were using. And that’s typical with a lot of street drugs. They don’t come with an ingredient label and that’s the [danger].”
Terragni also pointed out that the synthetic cannabinoid is not related in any way to the cannabis plant.
“Although it’s called a cannabinoid, because it’s synthetic, it does not come from the plant. it’s manufactured in a lab and comes from this whole family of designer drugs.”
As a result of this investigation, Justin Chester was charged with several offences including; obstructing police, possession of a scheduled substance, and failure to comply with his probation. Chester remains in custody.
For more information about overdose prevention and awareness visit gov.bc.ca/overdose
The Record has reached out to Island Health for comment and will update this article as more information is available.
-With files from RCMP