VANCOUVER – Vancouver police say they suspect the drug fentanyl has contributed to the deaths of four people and an outbreak of non-fatal overdoses in recent days.
Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more powerful than other opioids and must be carefully monitored to prevent overdose.
Police say three men and a woman in her 20s died from suspected overdoses between Tuesday night and Wednesday.
Seventeen overdoses, mostly on the Downtown Eastside, also occurred between Dec. 19 and 22.
Police say Health Canada will analyze drugs recovered from the scenes of the deaths but officers already suspect that fentanyl will be found.
Last last week, police issued a warning after fentanyl was stolen during the robbery of a local pharmacy.