The OPP is warning the public about the dangers of fentanyl and other opioids. The Red Lake OPP has confirmed that fentanyl has been found in local drugs, and want to warn the public that this can be deadly- not only for Red Lake residents, but anyone who may come into contact with the drugs across northwestern Ontario.

The OPP say that drug dealers add illegally obtained fentanyl to other drugs they sell – like cocaine and counterfeit oxycodone tablets – as a cutting agent to increase their profits. That activity is increasing the number of overdoses and deaths.

Symptoms of fentanyl exposure can include:

- Difficulty walking, talking or staying awake,
- Blue lips or nails,
- Very small pupils,
- Cold and clammy skin,
- Dizziness and confusion,
- Extreme drowsiness,
- Choking, gurgling or snoring sounds,
- Inability to wake up, even when shaken or shouted at,
- Slow, weak or not breathing.

Police are urging the public to immediately report an overdose, and to call 911. Anyone with any information is asked to call the OPP at 1-888-310-1122, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

If unknown substances are located, members of the public are asked to take necessary precautions in handling the substance, including wearing gloves and a mask. Police are also urging citizens to dispose of their expired or unused medication by contacting their local pharmacy.

Last month, the Sioux Lookout OPP reported that fentanyl had been found in local street drugs, which caused multiple overdoses.

Fentanyl is roughly 100 times more potent than morphine, and about 40 times more potent than heroin. A lethal dose of pure fentanyl is as little as two milligrams. That’s the equivalent of 32 grains of table salt.

In August 2017, Ontario announced a strategy to provide relief to those affected by the opioid crisis, including adding more front-line-harm-reduction workers, expanding the supply of the overdose reversal drug naloxone, and creating rapid access addiction clinics in every region of the province. In total, Ontario is investing over $222 million over 3 years to enhance Ontario's Strategy to Prevent Opioid Addiction and Overdose.

The number of hospitalized Canadians due to opioid poisoning is growing, according to new statistics published by the Canadian Institute for Health Information. Between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017, an average of 16 Canadians were hospitalized each day due to opioid poisoning. Two years ago, the average was just 13 people per day.

 Statistics show that more than 50 per cent of the cases were considered accidental. The report shows that youth aged 15 – 24, and adults aged 25 – 44 had the fastest growing opioid poisoning rates. Studies show two Ontarians die every day from a fentanyl overdose.

Naloxone kits are distributed for free across Ontario. Naloxone blocks or reverses the effects of opioid medication, including extreme drowsiness, slowed breathing, or loss of consciousness. 

For more information:
Fentanyl causing multiple overdoses, OPP

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