OTTAWA — A dangerous, headline-grabbing pharmaceutical is being mixed into the local illegal drug supply, causing concern among police and public health officials.
Testing recently confirmed that fentanyl was in some cocaine that had been seized by Ottawa Police back in July.
The presence of fentanyl in the cocaine is likely unknown to the people consuming it.
“Someone’s thinking they’re using cocaine…and then all of a sudden they’re going into an opiate overdose and they have no idea they’ve even used an opiate,” said Kira Mandryk, Ottawa Public Health.
Treating an overdose becomes even more difficult when the user, the people around the user and first responders aren’t sure or don’t know which drugs have been consumed.
It’s all about profit, police say
“You can’t trust your dealer,” said Staff Sgt. Rick Carey, Ottawa Police Drug Unit. “Everybody says, ‘oh, I’ve got my guy, and I’ve been dealing with the same dealer for ten years.’ They care about the bottom line.”
Carey says drug dealers are cutting fentanyl into other drugs, in part, because of costs.
“It’s cheaper for them to access fentanyl, which increases profit margins,” Carey told 1310 NEWS. “Plus it increases the addictive qualities, which keeps customers coming back for more.”
While Ottawa Police and Ottawa Public Health both warn people who use illegal drugs about this increased danger, they say the best way to avoid the risk is to avoid illegal drugs altogether.