June 07, 2013 - 10:00 AM
An extremely addictive, toxic drug has made its way to Kelowna streets and police say it has been attributed to a number of overdose deaths in the province.
Fentanyl is an opiod (synthetic opiate) that can be 100 times more potent than morphine. It's presented in several chemical variations and illicitly sold on the street as heroin, a heroin alternative or synthetic heroin.
Kelowna RCMP are saying many streets drugs sold locally such as Oxycodone, speed and most commonly heroin, actually contain Fentanyl. They also suspect it's being used to "cut" other illicit drugs. To "cut" is to take a cheaper substance and increase the weight or volume in order to increase dealer profits. While cutting decreases the purity of the original drug, it can also introduce potentially more dangerous, addictive and toxic substances.
Cutting with something such as Fentanyl may produce unexpected effects, including overdose since the user would be unaware of the dose they're receiving and would be expecting the effect they normally experience with a particular street drug.
Mounties say there is no such thing as a safe dose when it comes to street drugs. As well, Fentanyl can be absorbed through the skin and due to it's potency can easily lead to serious health risks and/or death, even with small amounts. This can be a potential risk to emergency personnel and other members of the public, so law enforcement are urging the public to never handle any suspected street drugs and instead call police to report them.
"One can never be truly certain about the chemical contents of street drugs, including drugs that appear to be prescription," said Kelowna RCMP Const. Kris Clark. "Illicit drug producers and dealers don't have the same safety standards as pharmaceutical companies.
Clark said drugs and organized crime are priorities for the RCMP, at all levels, and Members continue to aggressively pursue those who produce and sell them.
If you suspect crime activity, don't investigate, contact your local police or call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477, online at crimestoppers.net or text to CRIMES (274637) ktown.
For more information on the risks of drugs, please visit the RCMP Drugs and Organized Crime Awareness Service website.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013