Nfld. & Labrador

Fentanyl found among drugs in massive bust prompts warning from RNC

Deadly painkiller fentanyl has been found among a slew of drugs seized, prompting a public warning from the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.

Testing found 423 fentanyl pills among massive seizure

Masks, including this one in the foreground, were among the many items seized by the RNC as part of Operation Ragged. (Zach Goudie/CBC)

The powerful and potentially deadly painkiller fentanyl has been found among a slew of drugs seized, prompting a public warning from the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.

The discovery comes on the heels of the massive drug bust as part of a six-month investigation on the Avalon Peninsula called Operation Ragged, which saw police seize drugs, guns and cash.

The drugs seized were tested and it was found that 423 fentanyl pills were among the items seized.

Along with the fentanyl was two kilograms of cocaine, 600 Percocet, 36 oxycodone, 380 grams of a cutting agent called phenacetin, as well as 10.3 grams of ketamine, also known as horse tranquilizer.

"At the point where we were able to seize the substances it was still in pill form, so of course that would mean it wasn't cut into the cocaine yet at that stage," said Const. James Cadigan, spokesman with the RNC.

"The fact that they have all these different substances along with cutting agents, it would lead us to believe that these substances were going to be used to add to the cocaine to increase the volume for sale."

Even though the fentanyl pills were still intact, Cadigan said fentanyl is a very powerful opioid and people should be warned about possible contamination.

"The ingestion of fentanyl may cause serious injury or death," he said, adding that anyone with information is asked to contact the RNC or Crime Stoppers.

Police and other emergency responders now carry naloxone kits with them while on duty. (Paula Gale/CBC)

"Even if it's not someone who would feel like they want to contact police, we certainly want to ensure that they're aware of the risks that are at play here."

Officers and other first responders now carry naloxone kits on their person, and encourages people who suspect an overdose may be happening to call 911.

Naloxone is a fast-acting medication used to block the effects of opioids and temporarily reverse the effects of an overdose.

"We just want to ensure that this information gets out there so that those who may be at risk here certainly consider the substances that they may be putting in their bodies when they're using cocaine, coming in contact with, or being near cocaine," Cadigan said.

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