General News

OPP warning of potentially lethal strain of opioids circulating locally

March 16, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

The Ontario Provincial Police in Central Region is warning members of the public of a highly potent and potentially fatal strain of illicit opioids that may be circulating within the County of Simcoe and the District Municipality of Muskoka.

Seven people have lost their lives in the Central Region of Ontario from suspected opioid overdoses in the last seven days (dated March 6). 

Four of those deaths have occurred in Simcoe County and Muskoka. 

Fentanyl is a highly potent synthetic opioid. It is up to 100 times more potent than morphine and 40 to 50 times more potent than heroin.

Carfentanil is a synthetic opioid up to 100 times more potent than fentanyl. The prevalence of illicit opioids distributed through trafficking networks continues to increase.

The trafficking of opioids is a very serious criminal offence. Drug dealers are knowingly distributing products that cause harm and could kill.

Fentanyl can be lethal in very small quantities. If someone’s drug of choice is mixed with or contains fentanyl, it can potentially kill them. Opioid users have a higher risk of experiencing an overdose due to fentanyl potency, especially when the fentanyl is illicit and not sourced from a pharmaceutical company.

It is impossible for a user to determine the quantity of fentanyl they may be using because you can’t see, smell, or taste it.

Symptoms of fentanyl or opioid exposure can include difficulty walking, talking or staying awake, blue lips or nails, tiny pupils, cold and clammy skin, and dizziness or confusion. Symptoms can also include extreme drowsiness, choking, gurgling or snoring sounds, inability to wake up even when shaken or shouted at, and slow, weak, or lack of breathing.

If you, or someone you know experiences any of the symptoms, stay at the scene and call 9-1-1.

The Good Samaritan, Drug Overdose Act, provides legal protection for individuals who seek emergency help during an overdose.

In the event of an overdose, naloxone is a drug that temporarily reverses the effects of opioids, including respiratory depression, sedation and hypotension, allowing time for medical help to arrive.

The OPP has provided frontline officers with naloxone intranasal spray to help protect officers and the public from potential fentanyl exposure when attending an opioid-related incident.


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