Peterborough police warn public after first seizure of deadly carfentanil

Just 20 micrograms of carfentanil, amounting to less than a grain of salt, can be fatal, warns Canada Border Services Agency. Canada Border Services Agency / File Photo

Peterborough police are warning the public about carfentanil, which was recently seized for the first time in the city.

Police say the drug is 10,000 times more potent than morphine. Carfentanil is often used by veterinarians as a tranquilizer for larger animals, such as elephants.

READ MORE: Man faces over 330 charges after firearms, massive amount of carfentanil found at Pickering home

In an October traffic stop, police seized 0.7 grams of carfentanil.

“Exposure to a very small amount of this drug, about the size of a grain of salt or 20 micrograms, could be fatal through inhalation and ingestion. There is also concern due to the fact that it can be absorbed through the skin,” stated Dept. Chief Tim Farquharson.

Police have been concerned for the last several months about carfentanil.

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“We are warning recreational drug users that this potentially fatal drug is now in our city,” said Farquharson. “Fentanyl is an additive or cutting agent in virtually all street drugs. The potential for carfentanil to also be present in common street drugs is very much a real threat.”

Farquahrson is a member of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) Substance Advisory Committee, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) Drug Advisory Committee and the Central East Opioid Strategy Task Force. He says police aren’t surprised by the drug’s presence.

“(It) is a reminder that every community is susceptible,” he said. “Police services are working collaboratively and with a multi-disciplinary approach to deal with the many challenges that the opioid crisis is presenting.”


Samples of drugs that can potentially be fatal.
Samples of drugs that can potentially be fatal. Peterborough Police

On Oct. 24, police conducted a traffic stop near Parkhill Road West and Monaghan Road where marijuana and a dark powdered substance was found.

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READ MORE: Top doctor warns of dangers of carfentanil, one person dead

The substance was sent to Health Canada for testing. Results on Wednesday evening confirmed the substance was carfentanil.

“The Peterborough Police Service has notified its partners of the results including Peterborough Public Health and the Peterborough Drug Strategy,” police said.

Arrested and each charged with possession of schedule 1 substance (carfentanil) and schedule II substance (marijuana under 30 grams) are:

  • Khalid Omer, 20, of Galahad Drive, Oshawa
  • Jillian Cianna Halley, 20, of Galahad Drive, Oshawa
  • Keniel Anthony McLaughlin, 22, of Hewitt Crescent, Ajax

All three have made court appearances.