Hamilton

Niagara police say carfentanil linked to November overdose death

Police said they were releasing the information, even four months later, as a way of confirming the drug's existence in the region.

It was unclear what other drugs the person who overdosed may have ingested

Toronto police seized heroin in December that had been laced with the toxic opioid carfentanil. (Canadian Border Services)

Niagara police and paramedics said Friday that an overdose death there in November has been linked to the deadly animal tranquilizer carfentanil.

Police said they were releasing the information, even four months later, as a way of confirming the drug's existence in the region. 

It was unclear what other drugs the person who overdosed may have ingested. Police said carfentanil was "associated to the death."

They also said they would not release any more details about the incident "out of respect for the deceased and their next of kin and medical privacy laws."

Police charged a man in St. Catharines in January and seized a bag of suspected carfentanil powder. A sample of the powder was sent to Health Canada for analysis and to confirm its potency.

A time lag in overdose death information

The time lag for releasing information about opioid-related overdose deaths has been in the news this week after it was impossible to confirm whether multiple overdoses in Hamilton last weekend either led to death or were connected to harmful drugs like fentanyl.

After a weekend of at least two sudden deaths and several reported overdoses in the city, no officials had answers about how many overdose deaths might have occurred. There is no real-time tracking of overdose deaths in Ontario, with the time lag stretching out for months.

Health officials in Hamilton Thursday said that fentanyl-laced crack has shown up in this city. Police in Hamilton seized liquid carfentanil from a house in November, but no carfentanil-related overdoses or deaths have been reported publicly.

It would take several kits of naloxone to reverse the effects of carfentanil, which is 10,000 stronger than heroin. Even tiny amounts can be deadly.

now