Friday, October 7, 2016

Carfentanil detected in two Alberta deaths

Government of Alberta - Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health is alerting the public, as well as health and law-enforcement officials, that the illicit opioid carfentanil has been confirmed by the Chief Medical Examiner in two recent deaths.
“Albertans need to know that the drug carfentanil has made its way into our province and that it is an extremely dangerous and deadly opioid. The smallest trace of carfentanil can be lethal and Albertans should be aware of the life-threatening dangers in using this drug.” - Dr. Karen Grimsrud, Chief Medical Officer of Health
Earlier this week, the Chief Medical Examiner notified the Chief Medical Officer of Health that carfentanil was detected in the deaths of two men in their 30s. One of the deaths occurred in the Edmonton area, the other in Calgary. Until very recently, toxicology tests could not confirm the existence of carfentanil in human blood due to the very low level of the drug being deadly.

“To my knowledge, there are very few laboratories in North America that are able to measure carfentanil in human blood. Alberta’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is believed to be the first toxicology laboratory in Canada to positively identify carfentanil in human blood. The discovery of this dangerous drug is concerning to us, and we will continue to work closely with our health partners, as part of sharing information and raising awareness of opioids.” - Dr. Elizabeth Brooks-Lim, Acting Chief Medical Examiner
"We are already in the eye of a deadly storm in fighting the horrific impacts of fentanyl in our communities. We are now even more challenged by the arrival of carfentanil on our streets. The primary role of the Alberta RCMP is to stop the flow of these substances and the criminal activities that support them. We will work together with our partners to weather this storm." - Deputy Commissioner Marianne Ryan, Commanding Officer, RCMP in Alberta

Carfentanil is an opioid drug licensed for use with large animals, but not for humans. Carfentanil is 100 times more toxic than fentanyl. An amount as small as a grain of sand could be lethal.

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