PEI

Fentanyl found in P.E.I. drugs linked to 3 overdoses in 1 day

P.E.I.'s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison says the powerful and potentially deadly drug fentanyl has been found in street drugs in the province.

Dr. Heather Morrison issues alert Friday

Fentanyl is cut into drugs that are sold on the street. It is considered 50-100 times more powerful than morphine. (Vancouver Police Department)

P.E.I.'s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison says the powerful and potentially deadly drug fentanyl has been found in street drugs in the province and is linked to three overdoses in one day.

She made the announcement Friday during a media briefing on COVID-19. 

"We want Islanders today to understand the serious risks they are taking when they choose to use street drugs," Morrison said, noting fentanyl is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine.

Morrison warned Islanders taking any street drugs in pill or powder form to take precautions, including carrying the antidote drug naloxone and informing others that naloxone is available. Fentanyl has caused accidental overdoses and death in street drug users. 

"If we see a cluster of overdoses ... it triggers us to issue this kind of alert," she said.

This is not the first time fentanyl has been detected in P.E.I. street drugs. It was linked to one accidental death in 2018 and one accidental overdose in 2019, according to Health P.E.I.'s website.

Morrison said public health officials have been in touch with the RCMP, EMO and justice officials, as well as P.E.I.'s opiate action plan implementation committee, and are reminding them to test for fentanyl if they see an overdose. 

Premier Dennis King called the alert "a scary and real reminder that everyday life is ongoing in P.E.I. and that we need to pay attention."

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