Syringes containing the opioid painkiller fentanyl. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

Deadly synthetic drug found in Kamloops that puts users in ‘zombielike’ state

Interior Health warning says substance causes ‘speedy, trippy-like symptoms’ and hallucinations

  • Apr. 22, 2019 10:15 a.m.

Kamloops This Week

A synthetic drug found in fentanyl in Kamloops is the same drug that led to a mass overdose event in Brooklyn in 2015 in which those affected were described as acting like zombies.

Interior Health has issued a warning after a drug-checking machine — Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectrometer — revealed that beige pebbles found in Kamloops contained caffeine, heroin, fentanyl and a synthetic cannabinoid called AMB-FUBINACA.

Interior Health said the AMB-FUBINACA substance causes “speedy, trippy-like symptoms” with hallucinations. In high doses, users of the synthetic cannabinoid can appear to be having what looks like an opioid overdose, but will not respond to Naloxone, a medication that temporarily reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

AMB-FUBINACA was the drug involved in a mass casualty overdose event in Brooklyn four years ago in which 18 men were taken to hospital after being found in what the New England Journal of Medicine called “zombielike” state, based on observations by onlookers.

READ MORE: B.C. opioid overdoses still killing four people a day, health officials say

Those who had overdosed on the synthetic drug fell into “a trancelike state, groaning and moaning, their eyes lifeless and their movements slow and seemingly mechanical,” according to a December 2016 New York Times article.

The synthetic cannabinoid was originally developed by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, but never tested on humans as the company abandoned its research.

AMB-FUBINACA was also listed as being responsible for about 20 overdose deaths in New Zealand in 2017.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the AMB-FUBICANA tested in Brooklyn in the summer of 2015 was 85 times as potent as the main agent in plant-grown marijuana — THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

Synthetic drugs like AMB-FUBICANA and K2 are made in labs and a world apart from natural cannabis.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

Vancouver Island volunteers checking in on seniors during pandemic

United Way reports 2,600 phone check-ins and 1,300 ‘virtual visits’

University of Victoria chemist works to create at-home COVID-19 test

The test uses a sample of saliva, results are then read by an app

Welcome to grilling season: Island firefighter talks barbecue safety tips

Grills should be cleaned, serviced prior to use, firefighter says

COLUMN: Graduates, gather no moss like a Rolling Stone

Don’t let COVID-19 get in your way, use it, learn from it

Trudeau offers $14B to provinces for anti-COVID-19 efforts through rest of year

Making a difference in municipalities is a pricey proposition

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

‘Alarmed’: Health critic calls for more data on COVID-19 in trucking industry

Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec said that level of detail is not being collected

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Black Lives solidarity demonstration fills Nanaimo park

Anti-racism protest held at Maffeo Sutton Park on Friday afternoon

North Island College leads province in transition to online biology labs

Biochemistry, cell biology, genetics among subjects students exploring from home

Gold River organizes a shop local initiative to creatively boost economy

Local purchases can earn shoppers $200 gift certificates to be spent on businesses within Gold River

Vancouver Island’s Simpson staying sharp for the baseball call

Pirates’ Chemainus player scraps initial plans for Houghton College in New York

Most Read