Officials found a disturbing majority of heroin and other narcotics recently tested at a safe injection site in Vancouver contains a potent chemical linked to scores of overdose deaths.
A study released at the Harm Reduction International conference in Montreal Monday reveals that fentanyl, an opiate-based painkiller roughly 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine, is infiltrating drug supplies throughout North America. Roughly 80 percent of the heroin and crystal meth tested at the safe injection site contained fentanyl, as did 40 percent of the cocaine, reports Vancouver Sun.
Rick Lines, executive director of Harm Reduction International, told Vancouver Sun the presence of fentanyl in such large quantities shows the “alarm bells that have been sounding over this public health emergency are fully warranted.”
Safe injection sites, like Insite in Vancouver, provide clean needles and voluntary substance testing to addicts and the staff are trained in the emergency use of Narcan, the overdose reversal drug. Officials conducted the study between July 2016 and March 2017, testing more than 1,000 drug samples, which were mostly heroin.