Health officials in Metro Vancouver have been in talks about how to respond to a deadly drug, 100-times more powerful than fentanyl.
Doctor William Dick, an emergency room physician at Surrey Memorial Hospital, says there’s been much discussion lately among the medical community about how officials are going to deal with carfentanil, a drug that is 10,000 times more potent than morphine.
Dick says it’s just a matter of time before the drug shows up on Metro Vancouver streets.
“Unfortunately for us and for the public and for drug users this stuff is so potent it can be smuggled in in very small quantities that I think is going to make it difficult to detect when it’s being imported illegally.”
Dick says just 20 micrograms (that is, 20 millionths of a gram) of carfentanil can be fatal.
At the same time Dick says a new step to treat narcotic overdoses in an emergency situation will be available soon naloxone in a nasal spray.
“You don’t have to worry about giving a needle, a lot of people obviously would be very apprehensive about giving somebody an injection, it is a little invasive.”
“It’s put in a syringe and it has a little device called an atomizer on the tip of the syringe that is just put into the nasal cavity, into the nose, and sprayed in and it delivers the drug in that fashion.”
Previously naloxone was only available by injection.
Yesterday, Vancouver’s supervised injection site Insite reported 14 overdoses in a 24 hour period linked to an “unknown substance” turning up in street drugs.
Police say they suspect fentanyl, however other newer substances like carfentanil and W-18 haven’t been ruled out.