Kingston public health warns of increase in fentanyl, cartfentanil in street drugs
Kingston’s public health unit is warning residents there may be an increased risk of illicit drugs being contaminated with fentanyl and carfentanil.
KFL&A Public Health says data shows an increase in the presence of both substances, which have been known to be deadly, circulating in the area.
The public health unit reported 63 opioid overdose emergency room visits in the region for the first quarter of 2019. They compared that to 48 opioid overdose emergency visits in the last quarter of 2018. KFL&A has not responded to a request for the number of opioid overdoses for the first quarter of 2018.
KFL&A says drugs such as cocaine, MDMA, crystal methamphetamine and other opioids like heroin are at risk of being laced with the two potentially dangerous substances.
Carfentanil is a synthetic opioid that is 100 times more toxic than fentanyl and not intended for human use.
WATCH: Carfentanil found in Kingston, public health unit says
Fentanyl is an opioid used for pain and is often coupled with anesthesia, but has recently become a popular drug known to cause overdoses.
The public health unit says both drugs are known to be fatal when taken even in extremely small doses.
“Since you can’t see, taste, or smell them when mixed with other drugs, potential contamination in a wide range of illicit drugs makes this the most dangerous time in the KFL&A area to be using drugs,” a new release from the organization said.
KFL&A is advising people in Kingston to be aware of signs of an opioid overdose and to pick up a free naloxone kit, which can momentarily counteract the effects of an opioid overdose.
The agency also is advising those who choose to use illicit drugs do so at Street Health’s consumption and treatment centre, where there are professionals trained to respond to overdoses.
KFL&A Public Health also provides free nasal spray naloxone kits.
The health unit is also urging people to call 911 when they are experiencing an opioid overdose. They say there are legal protections against drug possession charges in Canada’s Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act.
For more information on where to get a naloxone kit, visit KFL&A’s website.
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