Is it true?
Could pot now be laced with fentanyl?
That’s the claim Premier Christy Clark is making, as she takes her pitch for more help in the opioid crisis to Ottawa.
Speaking to reporters today, Clark said the toxic narcotic had turned up in pot seized by Vancouver cops.
“Vancouver police did a major seizure, they found cocaine with fentanyl, heroin with fentanyl, methamphetamine with fentanyl and marijuana with fentanyl,” she said.
It’s a worrying claim, but it’s also one that’s news to Vancouver Coastal Health’s Chief Medical Health Officer Patricia Daly.
“I can only speak for what we know in the Vancouver Coastal Region, and we haven’t had any reports of fentanyl contamination of marijuana here at this point,” she said.
She says from a medical standpoint, officials can’t trace the drug backwards from the system of an overdose victim – but from an administrative standpoint there’s been no word.
“Almost all of those who are dying of illicit drug overdoses have fentanyl in their system also have evidence of other drugs in their system. But certainly we’ve had no reports from the police or others that fentanyl has been found in any of the marijuana that’s sold here in the health authority,” she said.
Metro Vancouver’s other major health region, Fraser Health, says it hasn’t received reports of fentanyl appearing in marijuana either.
In a statement to CKNW, Sgt. Brian Montague says the VPD has NOT seized any marijuana laced with fentanyl.
However, back in August, the VPD said testing had revealed the presence of fentanyl in virtually all street drugs – with the specific exception of marijuana.
A warning out of an abundance of caution: Health Minister
Health Minister Terry Lake is clarifying the Premier’s comment yesterday regarding the VPD seizures and says her remarks were meant to be a warning.
“We don’t want to sound false alarms by any stretch of the imagination, but we’re talking about people’s lives, here. We’ve seen recreational drug users from families across B.C. die because of fentanyl, inadvertently, laced into the drugs they’re using. So everyone should just be extremely cautious.”
He says there is an anecdotal report RCMP in Masset have found pot laced with fentanyl, but that has not been confirmed by toxicological tests.
Public Safety Minister weighs in
B.C.’s Public Safety Minister is defending the Premier’s claim that fentanyl-laced pot has been seized in Vancouver.
Even though the VPD say that’s not the case.
If it’s a possibility, the public should know about it.
That’s the message from Minister Mike Morris, who says just because the VPD haven’t seized fentanyl-laced marijuana that doesn’t mean it’s not out there.
He says Premier Clark’s message is meant to be a warning, but what does he say to those who call it fear mongering?
“When we’ve lost 622 people and two people a day dying, people should be fearful.”
Morris also points to a pot seizure by RCMP in Masset last week, but evidence of fentanyl within those drugs has not yet been confirmed.
In an e-mail statement, he says they continue to warn the public that any and all drugs can be tainted with fentanyl, including marijuana.