Deadly carfentanil among drugs seized in recent bust

Lethbridge Police have received confirmation of the presence of carfentanil in a batch of drugs seized earlier this summer.

On July 31, 2017 members of ALERT Lethbridge observed a female with outstanding warrants engaging in drug trafficking activity. With assistance from members of the Patrol Operations Section, the 29-year-old woman was arrested. A search incidental to arrest subsequently resulted in the seizure of cocaine, methamphetamine, fentanyl pills, a bag containing unknown powder, more than $2,000 in cash and other drug paraphernalia. The unknown powder was sent to the Health Canada lab for analysis and the results were received this week, confirming the presence of carfentanil.

Carfentanil is a veterinary drug used to tranquilize elephants and other large animals. It is 100 times more potent than fentanyl and 1000 times more potent that heroin. In humans a dose as small as 1 microgram is enough to elicit a response and 20 micrograms – less than a grain of salt – is enough to be fatal.

According to statistics from Alberta Health there were 32 deaths in 2016 linked to carfentanil. In 2017, as of May, there had already been 34 deaths linked to carfentanil.

“As with any street drug the danger is the end user has no idea what they’re ingesting and drugs containing carfentanil significantly increase the risks of overdose and death,” said Staff Sgt. Jason Walper, who oversees ALERT Lethbridge.

Police will continue to aggressively target drug dealers in the community while working with local partners to implement a supervised consumption site as part of an overall harm reduction strategy.