|Calgary police are warning of a public health crisis as the number of fentanyl-related deaths and overdoses in the city continues to rise. They say two people have died and 14 others have been taken to hospital over the past two weeks as a result of using an illegal and potent street version of the pain-killing prescription drug.|
They say that between January and June of this year, 45 people in Calgary have died from fentanyl use, with no sign of a decline in the rate. There were 145 fentanyl-related deaths in the city last year.
|Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opiate analgesic similar to but more potent than morphine. It is typically used to treat patients with severe pain, or to manage pain after surgery. It is also sometimes used to treat people with chronic pain who are physically tolerant to opiates.|
Mixing fentanyl with street-sold heroin or cocaine markedly amplifies their potency and potential dangers.
|On August 10 in Vancouver there were 16 overdoses in 1 day. The powerful painkiller is being blamed for a spike of overdose deaths across Western Canada. The cheap drug can lead to an almost immediate overdose death.|
It is 50 to 100 times more toxic than morphine.