A highly toxic opioid called carfentanil–an analogue of fentanyl– recently surfaced in the local illicit drug market in Sayward, reported the RCMP.
In a statement issued by the RCMP, they alerted Sayward’s residents as carfentanil has 100 times the toxicity of fentanyl and 10,000 times that of morphine.
Due to its lethal level of potency, there is virtually no way, even in a controlled laboratory setting, to safely cut and dilute carfentanil for use in the illicit drug trade.
The effects of fentanyl and carfentanil are unpredictable and users have no idea of the level of purity or the potency of what they take, said the RCMP in the statement.
“An amount as small as grain of sand could be fatal,” says Cpl. Chris Manseau, BC RCMP media relations officer.
According to medical experts opioid antagonists like Naloxone can be effective for an exposure to carfentanil along with first aid protocols, however, a much greater dosage of Naloxone is required, police said.
“The RCMP supports all efforts to ensure that an overdose emergency is dealt with as a health/medical emergency and continues to work with our partners to monitor, detect and test for the presence of toxic and/or lethal substances entering the illicit drug market, in an effort to intercept and remove them before they hit the streets,” police said in the statement.
Information on overdose prevention and a listing of overdose prevention sites on Vancouver Island can be found on the Island Health website.