Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Carfentanil found in Toronto street drugs for 1st time

Carfentanil has appeared in Toronto, with police announcing Wednesday they have seized heroin laced with the drug. Waterloo Regional Police announced that an analysis of 85 counterfeit pills seized there showed they contained carfentanil rather than OxyContin. A second seizure in Kitchener also revealed carfentanil. No amount of the drug is safe for human consumption, public health officials say.

Carfentanil has not been tied to any deaths in Ontario, yet. Alberta has now recorded at least 15 fatalities connected to the synthetic opioid to the end of November. Health Canada reported the presence of carfentanil in Vancouver street drugs in September and at least one person has died of a related overdose. At least 3 have died in Winnipeg.
Health Canada’s labs receive more than 110,000 samples a year and normally take 60 days to turn around results. But in this rush case, Health Canada produced the results on December 2nd after receiving the samples on November 17th and 28th.

Carfentanil poses new challenges for policy makers in Canada, who are very far behind the US on the opioid crisis. Canada does not even have the basic tools to monitor deaths ... there is no national system tracking fatal opioid overdoses in Canada and nothing will be done until February, at the earliest.
Dr. David Juurlink, head of clinical pharmacology and toxicology at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre said that even a tiny dose of carfentanil “could kill even a seasoned opioid user. If you’re taking a tablet with several grains of salt worth of carfentanil in it, I think death is a virtual certainty,”