August 20, 2015 11:29 am
Updated: August 24, 2015 10:08 am

Fentanyl linked to three Quebec City deaths

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WATCH ABOVE: The synthetic drug fentanyl has been linked to several cases in Quebec, according to officials.

MONTREAL – Synthetic drug fentanyl has been linked to several cases in Quebec, according to officials.

READ MORE: Fentanyl: Will the situation get worse before it gets better?

Eleven cases, including three deaths, are being investigated in the Quebec City region.

READ MORE: Man accused of smuggling fentanyl into Canada makes court appearance

The drug, which some experts say can be 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine, heroin and oxycodone, is primarily used for pain management.

WATCH: Battling Fentanyl usage in Quebec

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“We use it to kill pain for people who are having surgery and it’s a very useful medication for people who have chronic pain,” said Doctor Mitch Shulman, Global Montreal’s health expert.

“In and of itself, it’s a very effective medicine – but it’s very potent.”

READ MORE: Fentanyl fact sheet: what it is and what it does

In some cases, drug dealers have tried to sell fentanyl as fake oxycodone, making it highly dangerous.

“People are under the mistaken feeling that just because it’s a pill it can’t kill you,” he told Global News.

“The reality is it’s such a potent narcotic. If you take too much, it will stop your breathing and you will die.”

WATCH: A warning about fentanyl

Experimenting with fentanyl is not a new trend, explained Shulman.

“It’s a problem we have been aware of for a while,” he said.

Last year, 15 people died due to possible fentanyl overdoses in Montreal.

What do people nee to know?

If you’ve been prescribed fentanyl by your doctor, make sure to use it properly.

“It is a very effective and safe narcotic, but you have to be careful of how you dispose of it so someone – especially a child – doesn’t get into it,” said Shulman.

If you’re using – or thinking of using – it to get high, Shulman has some advice.

“You can’t be careful, to be blunt. You have to know what’s out there,” he said.

“It’s dangerous and you can die.”

There is an antidote available for anyone who overdoses, however Shulman explained it is a prescription drug and not readily available in Canada.

“Paramedics in the States use it. It must be more freely available here,” he said.

“There just needs to be some sort of Epi-Pen.”

© 2015 Shaw Media

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