Fentanyl a deadly threat on Montreal's streets: officials
Published Sunday, February 26, 2017 8:38AM EST
Last Updated Sunday, February 26, 2017 11:58AM EST
Police hazardous materials units were on the site of a suspected drug lab on Saturday, the same location that was targeted in sweeping raids the day before.
On Friday, multiple suspected labs in L’Assomption, St-Charles-Sur-Richelieu and Brossard were raided by police from Surete du Quebec, the SPVM, local forces and the United States. No arrests were made authorities have confirmed the labs were producing fentanyl.
On Thursday, 18 people in Ontario and Quebec were arrested in connection to an alleged drug distribution network.
Public health officials have expressed concerns over the province's ability to handle an influx of fentanyl, the synthetic drug that is 40 times stronger than heroin and cheap to produce.
In British Columbia, more than 500 people have died of overdoses from fentanyl in the past year alone.
Sandhia Vadlamudy, executive director of Cactus Montreal, said it's becoming evident that fentanyl has arrived on Montreal's streets and said the province must begin stocking up on naloxone, a drug that can be used to treat overdoses.
"It's evident that this product is coming out of labs and is available on the streets and we're going to live with the consequences," she said. "We have to be prepared to offer treatment in a much faster way."
A member of Cactus' team, an admitted drug user who asked to be identified only as Maurice, said people he knows on the streets have begun using fentanyl. He said that while he has no intention of using it himself, he does worry about dosing himself accidentally if the drug is sold disguised as another narcotic.
"We never know what's going to happen, if the next day they're gonna be there or not," he said of the dangers posed by fentanyl to drug users. "It's hard, we get close to those people, they get hurt really hard and we care about them."