Fake version of OxyContin linked to 19-year-old's death, Saskatoon police say

The recent death of a 19-year-old Saskatoon man is being linked to a fake version of the drug OxyContin.
Saskatoon police say this pill is an example of a fake version of the drug OxyContin. (Saskatoon Police)

The recent death of a 19-year-old Saskatoon man is being linked to a fake version of the drug OxyContin.

Police in Saskatoon announced Thursday that the man, who died of an overdose on Jan. 3, had taken pills that contained a lethal dose of fentanyl.

They said the same type of counterfeit drug has been linked to two other deaths in the city, which they began investigating in in September. 

Police also released an image of a counterfeit pill and noted it is distinguishable from real OxyContin due to the blue-green colour throughout the pill.  Authentic OxyContin, police said is white inside with a blue-green coating.

Genuine OxyContin is the brand name of a powerful pain killer known as oxycodone. It is an opioid, a synthetic preparation, that can lead to abuse and addiction.

"This is our number one concern here," Alyson Edwards, a spokeswoman for the Saskatoon police, told CBC News Thursday. "We're having young people take this drug and die."

She added investigators are working to determine the source of the fake pills.

"Drugs are coming into this city every day from other places," she said.

She also said no charges had been laid against anyone for possession or trafficking of the fake drug.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.