Peterborough health unit issues toxic drug alert for green pills being sold as Xanax

Peterborough Public Health is warning of toxic green bromazolam pills circulating in the region. Peterborough Public Health

Peterborough Public Health is warning the public about a deadly drug, bromazolam, that “may be linked” to recent deaths in Peterborough and neighbouring communities.

The health unit on Friday issued a toxic drug alert, warning about the dangers of green, round pills that may be sold as “Xanax” — a brand name medication used to treat symptoms of anxiety

Bromazolam is a derivative of benzodiazepine and is not approved for legal use in Canada. The health unit says the Toronto Drug Checking Service reports that 56 per cent of fentanyl samples tested from Feb. 11 to 24 contained bromazolam.

“The potency of this product is unknown,” stated the health unit, whose jurisdiction includes Peterborough, Peterborough County, Hiawatha First Nation and Curve Lake First Nation.

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“Peterborough Public Health is reminding the public that street drugs may be cut or mixed with toxic substances. Beware that using even a small amount of drug can be fatal. ”

The health unit earlier this week issued a drug alert after a recent jump in overdoses.

Deaths and ER visits

The health unit’s regional opioids harms portal reports 15 suspected drug-related deaths so far in 2022 — five in February and 10 in January. There were 59 suspected fatal drug poisonings for 2022 —  approximately one person every seven days.

February saw 32 emergency department visits at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre for drug poisonings, on par with 33 reported in January. In 2022, there were 539 emergency department visits.

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As for 911 calls due to drug poisonings, there were 32 in February, up from 26 reported in January.


The health unit says anyone who uses drugs, or knows someone who does, should take the following precautions:

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  • Don’t use drugs alone — visit the Consumption Treatment Services site at 220 Simcoe St. (open 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily).
  • Test a small amount of the drug before you use it.
  • Avoid mixing drugs or sharing drugs.
  • Avoid using damaged or modified pipes/needles.
  • If you are alone, call the National Overdose Response Service (NORS) virtual safe consumption at 1-888-668-NORS (6677), or call a friend.
  • Ensure that emergency services can be contacted in the event of an overdose.
  • Keep a naloxone kit on hand. You can get a kit at most pharmacies and needle exchange sites. To find out how to access naloxone visit and search for “opioids” or find its Accessing Naloxone pdf.

Use the health unit’s Drug Reporting Tool to anonymously report overdose incidents and harms in the community. Under Canada’s Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act, anyone who seeks medical help for themselves or for someone else who has overdosed will not be charged for possessing or using drugs for personal use.


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