Earlier in April, two dangerous and potentially-deadly drugs were found in Canada. In the first instance, carfentanil, a synthetic opioid approximately 100 times stronger than fentanyl, and 10000 times stronger than morphine, was discovered in Ottawa. In the second instance, a synthetic cannabinoid called AMB-FUBINACA was found in Kamloops, B.C.
Carfentanil was detected in the street drug called “blue fentanyl” during testing at the supervised consumption site at Sandy Hill Community Health Centre. It is one of the most potent opioids known. The director of the Oasis program at the community centre, Rob Boyd, issued a warning to drug users via Twitter urging them to use drugs at supervised consumption sites and not alone, as well as to avoid mixing drugs and to carry naloxone, the opioid antidote.
Carfentanil has already been detected by the health center last summer in a sample of rock crack cocaine, and has been associated with a series of recent overdose deaths involving cocaine. Ottawa Public Health also issued a warning, which states that heroin and cocaine have been suspected in recent life-threatening overdoses, and that “anything can be cut with fentanyl or carfentanil.” Moreover, the warning released by the agency also states, “Even the smallest amount can cause an OD.”
In another case, health officials in the B.C. Interior have issued a warning about a synthetic cannabinoid called AMB-FUBINACA found in Kamloops. The drug is also known as K2, spice, kronic or fake weed, and has been reported to put individuals who consume it into a “zombie-like” state. According to the health officials, street drugs described as “beige pebbles” found in Kamloops tested positive for both fentanyl and the synthetic cannabinoid. B.C. Interior Health urged anyone using drugs to test a small amount first, have a sober friend present, and call 911 immediately in case of a bad reaction.
In 2016, the drug had already resulted in a “mass casualty event” in New York, as described by the New York City Emergency Medical Services (EMS). In the incident, a total of 33 people were adversely affected by the drug, out of which 18 were hospitalized. All of the individuals involved were described by bystanders as “zombie-like,” and tested positive for AMB-FUBINACA metabolites. In addition, in 2017, over 20 deaths in New Zealand were attributed to AMB-FUBINACA, with tests showing that the drug consumed was between two and 25 times stronger than the drug implicated in the earlier case in New York.