Kelowna RCMP issue drug warning

Fentanyl is being sold on the streets of Kelowna—an extremely potent drug masked as heroin when sold on the street

  • Jun. 7, 2013 8:00 a.m.

The potent, addictive and toxic drug fentanyl is apparently being sold on the streets of Kelowna, RCMP say.

The drug is a synthetic opiate considered up to 100 times stronger than morphine, and RCMP have learned it is being used to cut many street drugs—speed (amphetamines), oxycodone and most commonly heroin.

“Fentanyl, and several chemical variations, historically have been illicitly produced and sold on the street as heroin, a heroin alternative or synthetic heroin and (it) has been attributed to many overdose deaths. The drug is highly addictive and extremely toxic,” said Kris Clark, RCMP spokesperson.

When cheaper substances are used to artificially increase the weight and volume of a drug in order to increase dealer profits, it’s referred to as cutting a drug. The cutting process decreases the purity of the original, but can also introduce potentially more addictive, dangerous and toxic substances, according to a statement from RCMP issued Friday.

“What might be a ‘safe’ dose for a particular substance could lead to an overdose death on fentanyl,” the release notes.

In reality, RCMP say there is no such thing as a safe dose of any drug, but fentanyl is explicitly dangerous. It is absorbed through contact with the skin and, due to its potency, can quickly lead to serious health risks and/or death, even in very tiny doses.

The risk to the public, including emergency personnel, is said to be significant and police are urging the public to call police about suspected drugs and not to handle any of these substances.

jsmith@kelownacapnews.com Twitter: @jaswrites

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