Quebec provincial police are confirming that an illegal drug lab in the Eastern Townships was producing capsules that contained fentanyl.

They say it's the first time the powerful opioid has been found in a drug lab in Quebec.

The lab, which was raided on Dec. 23, was located in the municipality of Potton.

"It's very strong and you can die if you take this synthetic drug," said Sûreté du Québec Sgt. Ronald McInnis.

Fentanyl is 40 times stronger than heroin. The drug has been linked to an increasing number of deaths on the West Coast.

According to a British Columbia Coroners Service report, fentanyl was detected in 374 illicit drug overdose deaths in that province between January and October 2016.

After running tests, police confirmed a one kilogram mixture found in the lab contained fentanyl and the anti-anxiety medication Xanax.

Police also found two presses used to turn the powder mixture in capsules.

"These drugs were produced by amateurs who were improvising, in unsanitary conditions, with chemicals that are explosive and harmful to health," said police in a news release.

No arrests have been made in connection to the lab and the investigation is ongoing.

Rabbi Benyamin Bresinger director of Chabad Lifeline

Rabbi Benyamin Bresinger, who is the director of Chabad Lifeline, said Montreal drug counsellors are talking to each other about what it might mean if fentanyl use becomes more widespread in Montreal. (CBC)

Making inroads in Quebec

Last spring Quebec City police seized more than 76,000 pills and a kilogram of fentanyl powder in more than a dozen busts. The street value of the haul was estimated at more than $1.5 million.

The appearance of the drug has Montreal counsellors who deal with addicts worried.

"There is talk in the community, especially because of what is happening in Vancouver," said Rabbi Benyamin Bresinger, who is the director of Chabad Lifeline in Côte-Des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-De-Grâce.

"There's a lot of talk about what this drug coming here might mean."

Bresinger said that fentanyl might be mixed into other drugs, like heroin or cocaine, without users' knowledge.

Still, the reports of deaths associated with the drug have not gotten through to users, he said.

"It doesn't scare people, they're not affected by the news," said Bresinger, adding that people with addiction problems will continue to take risks as long as their underlying issues go unaddressed.

With files from Matt D'Amours