Thursday, December 15, 2016

Carfentanil threat looming - now


Darrel Tchir was among 15 people who died in Alberta after taking carfentanil
On the afternoon of October 4th, two police officers arrived at Wendy Fleming's workplace in Edmonton to tell her that her 24-year-old son, Darrel Tchir, had been found dead.

At the end of October, she got a phone call saying the pill contained carfentanil. In addition to Alberta, the drug has now been found in B.C., Ontario and Manitoba. In September, the DEA issued a public warning about the health and safety risks of carfentanil after overdose cases began popping up in Ohio and elsewhere. In Chicago the first carfentanil fatality has been confirmed. Police say the opioid is cheap and potent which is why it is being cut into other drugs. It's showing up in fentanyl, heroin and even in tablets that are being passed off as counterfeit OxyContin.
While authorities have been able to detect the drug in pills, powders and paraphernalia, it is much more difficult to detect in someone who has died. This fall, a lab in Edmonton was the first in Canada to be able to do the test and confirm carfentanil-related overdoses. What's still unknown is how many people have previously overdosed on it.

Officials in B.C. expect to be able to detect carfentanil in blood this month while labs in Ontario and Manitoba are working to develop a similar test.