WATCH: Alarming new numbers are out about how many people are dying from street drugs laced with a powerful opioid. The painkiller Fentanyl is being blamed for 500 deaths from overdose in B.C. and Alberta in the past two years alone. Police say it’s being brought in from Asia and hidden in Oxycontin and other commonly used street drugs. Far too many young and unsuspecting users are falling victim to it. Reid Feist reports.
Kelly Best was just 19 years old when he died. He took a pill containing the opiate fentanyl, fell asleep on the couch and never woke up.
The Saskatoon teen’s mother received the call in early January that her son was dead.
“I didn’t get out of bed for three months… I couldn’t,” his mother Marie Agioritis told Global News.
Now, she is warning others of fentanyl’s deadly consequences.
“We don’t understand, the powerful, powerful nature of them,” she said.
Fentanyl is 100 times stronger than morphine and 20 times more powerful than OxyContin.
It’s a sad reality two Kindersley, Saskatchewan families now know after two young people died in three overdoses of the drug just last month.
RCMP have sent a public warning out, as Mounties investigate the deaths.
Law enforcement agencies across Canada, are already sounding the alarm – with British Columbia already dealing with dozens of fentanyl related deaths this year.
Calgary Police are set to unveil a public awareness campaign next week, after noticing more potent drug’s usage.
“The lethal dosage of fentanyl is basically two specs of salt or two milligrams,” Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetta told Global News.
Fentanyl is sometimes sold as OxyContin or often added to other drugs because of its low cost and addictive nature.
One Vancouver drug user who smoked heroin laced with fentanyl went into a two-day coma.
“I’m lucky I can walk again. I’m lucky I can talk again,’said Lynn, who asked only her first name be used. “I’m lucky I can sit with you and have this conversation right now.”
In Kamloops, social workers say they’ve also see it mixed with marijuana.
“If you’re a 16-year-old kid and you’re opiate-naïve, you’ve never used an opiate before, smoking a joint like that will kill you,” said Ken Salter of the ASK Wellness Society in Kamloops.
Much of the supply is being imported from Asia and experts say you don’t know what you’re going to get.
“Keep in mind that products are with no government oversight, there are no factories to inspect, there are no recipes to check,” said UBC epidemiologist M-J Milloy.
It’s why the fight against the drug will continue said Agioritis.
“This is the start of something. To just let Kelly die? No, that’s not going to happen.”