|With more than 4 people in B.C. already dying of overdose every day, the province’s chief medical officer is warning of dozens of new types of analogues that are proving resistant to naloxone. At least 40 different fentanyl analogues exist to intensify or prolong a user’s high. Acryl fentanyl is one. It is highly resistant to the Narcan antidote.|
Improper mixing of fentanyl into street samples creates lethal doses. Proper mixing of tiny concentrations is challenging, especially for powders. Improper mixing results in some street 'hits' having more than 2 milligrams and others having less. Fentanyl and analogs are not water soluble, and traffickers need to use acidic substances to break it apart. (i.e. Vitamin 'C') Most don't bother.
|Eric Boechler mixes up a binding agent and pink-dyed sugar in a small blender. He puts the powder in a pill press, turns it on, and little pills start pumping out. |
The dyed sugar is used to replace fentanyl in the demonstration to show how poorly the drug is distributed.
Included in Sgt. Eric Boechler's demonstration is a confiscated "fake oxy" pill containing fentanyl and the dyes used.
| 'Hot spots' are common in street fentanyl. While one user may smoke, swallow, snort or inject the drug and be fine, the next may end up dead.|
Fatal doses of Heroin, Fentanyl
|131 people died in the province, an average of 3.5 deaths per day and a massive increase from August 2016. Prevention measures have not helped decrease the overall number of deaths, although none of the fatal overdoses occurred at supervised consumption sites or drug prevention clinics. More than 81 per cent of these illicit drug deaths involved fentanyl — a 151 per cent increase from the same period of 2016. Fentanyl was most often found combined with other drugs, such as cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines.|
|Physiological and toxicological effects are unknown. The drug has no known applications for human or veterinary use and virtually nothing is known about how it actually effects people. Cyclopropyl Fentanyl's chemical structure is so similar to fentanyl its properties are likely similar. The drug was first found in counterfeit Percocet pills that led to overdoses and deaths in Georgia. The reason labs make analogues as opposed to fentanyl itself is to avoid chemical tests and to skirt legal prosecution.|
|Deaths involving synthetic opioids, mostly fentanyls, have risen to more than 20,000 from 3,000 in just three years. At the same time, there has been a resurgence in cocaine and methamphetamine deaths.|
Reports from state health departments and county coroners and medical examiners suggest that the overdose epidemic has continued to worsen in 2017. Steepest rises were in Delaware, Florida and Maryland.
New statistics from the DEA show fentanyl is the largest drug threat to the United States, and causes the death of 44 people every day. Drug overdoses from opioids have reached epidemic levels, accounting for more deaths in the U.S than homicides, suicides, vehicle crashes and guns.|
Fentanyl figured in 417 fatal drug overdoses in New Jersey in 2015, nearly three times the number of fentanyl-related deaths in the year before, according to new state figures. The rise in deaths is largely due to fentanyl-laced heroin. The numbers for 2016 are expected to be much worse with 72 percent of the drug deaths involved fentanyl.
|Nationally in the US overdose deaths more than tripled between 2010 and 2014.|
In Calgary 4 children between ages four to fourteen were orphaned after one of them discovering their mother and father’s lifeless bodies Saturday morning. Crews responded to Glengrove Close S.W. after a call to 911. The couple had been battling fentanyl addiction.
Calgary teen Anthony Hampton suffered significant brain damage after trying what he thought was OxyContin for the first time.
|Vancouver police have issued yet another warning after 11 non-fatal overdoses were reported in a single day in the city’s Downtown Eastside. The city’s supervised injection site saw 28 overdoses on Monday – none fatal.|
There have been 622 fatal overdoses in B.C. so far this year, compared to 397 for the same period last year. Every day, on average, 2 more people will die. October's toll was 63, up from 57 the previous month. The coroner says fentanyl still remains a major contributor with 60 per cent of deaths attributed to the drug.
|In Alberta 338 have died so far this year with fentanyl identified in 193 cases. Ontario has only released numbers for 2015, a year in which 529 people died of opiod overdose.|
The ‘hodgepodge’ tracking leaves the true magnitude unknown. Governments in B.C., Alberta, and Ontario are moving ahead with exploring safe drug consumption sites in an effort to reduce the number of deaths. Health leaders have grown increasingly concerned and are finally addressing the fentanyl and opioid crisis from a health and harm reduction perspective. It takes more than 8 months to prepare a Health Canada application, let alone get approval. Health Minister Jane Philpott will host a conference in Ottawa to discuss the crisis.
|Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, manufactured from chemicals, unlike heroin, which is produced from the poppy plant. DEA agents say clandestine labs across China are the main source of the drug. It’s often shipped to Mexico where drug cartels mix it into heroin or press it into tablets. The powder or pills are delivered to dealers or directly to users like pizza via the internet or darknet, an area used for illegal purchases.|
|Synthetic drugs are easy to make and they’re cheap to produce. The profit margin is massive, as much as 50,000 percent. The DEA says it costs $3,000-$4,000 to produce a kilo of fentanyl. The fentanyl is then cut with cheap fillers to make pills or sold as heroin. Drug traffickers can yield close to $1.5 million off that one kilogram. The U.S. has asked the United Nations to help curb the trade of NPP and ANPP, chemicals used to make fentanyl. There will be no progress until next year.|
Once synthetic drugs are controlled, drug manufacturers simply change a molecule to circumvent the law. New synthetic substances appear frequently. These are called analogues. If a drug compound is similar to fentanyl, or if it produces the same effect, it is quickly added to the drug supply. These new drugs are not illegal in many countries.
The Center for Disease Control offers a sobering perspective. While about 78 Americans will die every day of an overdose, another 580 will try heroin, or what they think is heroin, for the first time. The reality is fentanyl is now being cut into virtually all street drugs.
||It could be that the drug is a pre-mixed liquid from a legitimate pharmaceutical source. Those liquids are used for injections in operating rooms.|
In September police in Winnipeg charged a 37-year-old man with numerous drug offences after they found $30,000 worth of carfentanil in blotter form. Police across Canada are examining drug-handling protocols and are set to revamp how front-line officers deal with unknown substances. The RCMP announced its front-line officers would begin carrying naloxone nasal spray.
|Fentanyl has been steadily making its way east. The majority of the illicit fentanyl in Canada comes from China. Mexico has also become a fentanyl hub. Anyone with a decent chemistry lab can produce fentanyl according to experts. |
It's unknown how many deaths occur in Ontario due to fentanyl because the data doesn't exist, but the country as a whole is on track for upwards of 3,000 opioid-related deaths this year.
|There is a new opioid on the streets of Winnipeg strong enough to sedate an elephant and 10,000 times more toxic than morphine. And because carfentanil is often mixed with other drugs, you may not even know you’re taking it, police cautioned.|
Police charged a 37-year-old man with numerous drug offences after they found $30,000 worth of carfentanil in blotter form in a West End hotel on Sept. 12. The bust follows larger seizures in British Columbia and Alberta, including a package discovered by border agents last month that contained one kilogram of carfentanil — enough for 50 million doses.
|Because Carfentanil is so tiny and powerful, it's difficult to safely determine a non-lethal amount.|
Even hard-core drug addicts may get many, many times the dose they're used to taking and could be subject to overdose. Less than 2 milligrams can kill a human.
|On March 18 police busted a large drug processing lab in a Burnaby residence where police say fentanyl was being cut with heroin and other fillers. Photos of the lab released today show a filthy kitchen cluttered with drugs, chemicals, scales, blenders, and mixing instructions written on post-it notes.|
"They would have recipes on their cupboards in yellow sticky memos, just like you would with baked bread or muffins," said Police. Last month, the province declared a public health emergency because of drug-related deaths.
|In March Scott Pipping and Adam Summers were arrested. They remain in custody. Twenty-one charges have been recommended against them with more charges coming. A huge amount of drugs and cash was seized:|
Approximately 4.5 kg heroin.
Approximately 12 kg cocaine.
Over 4,500 oxycodone/Oxycontin pills.
Over 1 kg of methamphetamine.
125 grams of fentanyl.
Nine firearms (and 2 silencers/suppressors).
Over 1.5 million in cash.
Over 100 kilograms of cutting agents.
|As government data tracks a spike of fentanyl across Canada, people who use illicit drugs in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside say there is virtually no heroin left on the street after it has been pushed out by the cheaper and more potent fentanyl.|
There have been 256 fatal overdoses from illicit drugs in the first four months of this year in B.C. There were 480 reported in all of 2015. Fentanyl's connection to those deaths has been surging at a staggering rate. Fentanyl's takeover is evident by how easily people are overdosing on small amounts of what is being sold as heroin.
This picture, purported to show a powder sample of W-18, appears on a website based in China that promises to ship it. 'Not for human consumption,' reads the caption.
|The first known fatality in Alberta linked to the highly lethal new street drug W-18 has been confirmed. A 35-year-old Calgary man who died from a drug overdose in March had taken W-18 along with heroin, and 3-methyl fentanyl, a highly toxic form of fentanyl, according to the office of the Chief Medical Examiner.|
Police say 3-methyl fentanyl (3-MF) is an analog of fentanyl that is 10 to 15 times more toxic than the base version of the street drug. EMS crews were called to a hotel in south Calgary late in the evening on March 7 and declared the man dead at the scene.
W-18 is a legal opioid and is being called the deadliest trend in more than three decades.
|Police found drug paraphernalia and a Naloxone kit — a drug that can be injected to temporarily reverse an overdose of fentanyl or other opioids — in the room. The Naloxone kit had not been used. It is not know if Naloxone is effective against W-18. Police say organized crime is behind a recent increase in the amount of fentanyl and its analogs being trafficked, as well as the recent arrival of W-18 on the streets. Because it only takes tiny amounts profit margins are enormous compared to most other drugs. It is virtually impossible to test for trace amounts of drugs like fentanyl or W18 — which police describe as 'scary and terrifying' because of how fatal even a small dose can be. |
Health Canada proposed in February 2016 to list W-18 in Schedule I of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
|On December 11, 2015 Edmonton Police raided 3 properties. One was in a rural subdivision near Beaumont, another was in southeast Edmonton and the third was in Red Deer County.|
|Police seized four kilograms of an unidentified white powder during a drug raid in Edmonton in December. The powder was sent to Health Canada for testing and the department’s laboratory confirmed roughly two weeks ago that the powder is 90 per cent pure W-18.|
W-18 is a synthetic opioid 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl.
|W-18, a drug 100 times more potent than fentanyl, has turned up in B.C. for the first time.|
W-18 was first synthesized by a trio of chemists at the University of Alberta in the early 1980s. Its formula was forgotten until its patent expired. Police believe labs in China are producing it again. W-18’s extremely high potency makes it far more profitable by weight than heroin, and it's easier to produce, conceal and ship. Manufacturers and distributors freely exchange the drug over the Internet.
|W-18 and fentanyl are both used to manufacture counterfeit pills. Poor mixing of ingredients can create concentrated 'hot spots' in them, which cause deadly overdoses|
W-18 first re-emerged in Calgary, where it was detected by police last summer. Last week a “public health emergency” was declared in B.C. in response to the significant increase in drug-related overdoses and deaths. The declaration, typically reserved for a contagious disease outbreak, is the first in Canada. Provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall cited more than 200 overdose deaths in B.C. during the first three months of 2016, a pace that would lead to 800 deaths this year if it continues.
Roxy Blood and Tim Eagle Speaker, both of whom died from fentanyl
|The man accused of providing the deadly fentanyl that killed an Alberta couple is now facing manslaughter charges, a rare legal step.|
Bobby Weasel Head, a 41-year-old Blood Tribe member had charges upgraded to manslaughter, which is unusual in fatal drug cases.
This street in Stand Off has earned the nickname Oxy Alley, given high volumes of drug activity. Oxy80 is often the street name for fentanyl.
|Police were called to a home on the Blood reserve southwest of Lethbridge on March 20, 2015, when they found Roxanne Blood, 41, and Timothy Eagle Speaker, 46, dead at the scene.|
Investigators believe the parents of four children had been at a birthday party and were provided with a drug containing fentanyl. Weasel Head and his co-accused, Jessica Good Rider, 26, and Charles Shouting, 35, both of Stand Off, were arrested within days of the party.
|Public health officials in Toronto are raising the alarm for the second time in recent weeks about the risks associated with fentanyl after reports of a spike in fatal overdoses.|
An alert was issued Tuesday after 4 overdose deaths in two days. They reported “a white powdered substance sold as heroin and/or ‘china white’” is behind the overdoses. An illicit version of fentanyl is known on the street as China White.
|The fentanyl made in clandestine labs is 30 to 50 times more powerful than heroin. Powdered fentanyl looks like heroin and is often mixed with the drug — or sold as heroin — since it’s far cheaper and easier to manufacture. Even small doses of fentanyl can be lethal.|
In Alberta last year 272 overdose deaths were connected to fentanyl.
Toronto Public Health also issued an alert in February, after six people overdosed in a five-day period. Health-care advocates are calling for greater access to naloxone, which reverses the symptoms of an opioid overdose. Health Canada recently changed naloxone’s status from prescription-only to make it available without a prescription. Individual provinces also need to approve the loosened restrictions.
|The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) last year issued an alert about fentanyl, warning that overdoses were “occurring at an alarming rate throughout the United States.” The drug is so fast-acting and lethal that fentanyl victims are sometimes found with needles still stuck in their arms. The DEA said that powdered fentanyl was being brought into the U.S. chiefly by Mexican-based cartels.|
President Barack Obama is seeking $1.1-billion in new money to expand treatment for opioid addiction. On Tuesday, the President attended the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta, where he announced new funding for states to buy naloxone.