For the first known time in the province, the potent opioid carfentanil has been detected at the scene of an apparent illicit drug death.
B.C. Coroners Service says the incident took place on November 17.
A drug sample seized by the Coroner and VPD showed carfentanil was present.
Coroners Service says testing cannot confirm whether the powerful opioid was the cause of death.
“It is several times more dangerous by an order of magnitude thank just fentanyl itself,” says Barb McLintock with the BC Coroner Service, describing the drug which she says only zoos keep on hand.
There is currently no way to test for carfentanil post-mortem, but the ability to do so is expected to be available next month.
Carfentanil is known to be the most toxic opioid used commercially.
— Border Services (@CanBorder) August 9, 2016
It is 100 times more potent than fentanyl.
READ MORE: Carfentanil found in seized Vancouver drugs
“Basically the only commercial use that you’re supposed to be able to make of this carfentanil is as a general anaesthetic for large animals. People like zoos have it if they need to knock elephants out,” says McLintock.
On November 22, Vancouver Police said carfentanil had turned up in drugs seized in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
Back in June, YVRs mail centre intercepted a kilo of the drug, enough to produce 50 million doses, coming from China and destined for a Calgary address.