New form of fentanyl discovered on Calgary streets

Calgary police say they've found a new form of fentanyl - called furanylfentanyl - on city streets. While less toxic than regular forms of the drug, the little blue pills could still prove deadly for users, they warn.

Less toxic than regular forms of the drug, pills could still prove deadly for users

Calgary police say these pills are furanylfentanyl, a less toxic form of fentanyl that could still prove deadly for users. (Calgary Police Service)

Calgary police say they've found a new form of fentanyl on city streets after an analysis from Health Canada. 

Furanylfentanyl, is being distributed as blue pills with a "30" stamped on one side and an "M" surrounded by a square on the other, according to police. 

"It is less toxic than straight fentanyl, but we are unable to tell what quantity of the drug is being used in these tablets so they could still prove deadly," said police on a Facebook post featuring an image of a pill. 

"There is no such thing as a safe street drug."

Police are warning that fentanyl is highly addictive and users who are addicted should take precautions, including never using the drug alone, or without a Naloxone kit which can reverse the effects of an overdose.

Fentanyl was detected in 274 fatal overdoses in Alberta in 2015, up from only 29 in 2012. 

The synthetic opioid has been linked to 153 overdose deaths in Alberta in the first half of this year, official figures show.

Earlier this year, the province started making naloxone — which blocks the effects of opioids and can help reverse overdoses — available without a prescription.

The budget for the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT) has also been increased by $2.6 million to help the organization boost its focus on fentanyl.

And $3 million has been earmarked for Alberta Health Services to provide more counselling and treatment services.