A day after police raided in Chateauguay turned up two powerful drugs, public officials are warning of the growing danger opioids are posing to the Montreal area.

According to a study conducted by Montreal Public Health, one in five drug addicts in the city have fentanyl in their system.

On Saturday, RCMP officers raided a suspected drug lab in Chateauguay, arresting four suspects.

Officials said fentanyl and carfentanyl were found on the scene.

It wasn’t clear if the house was being used as a lab, or just a distribution area.

Marie-Eve Morin, a doctor who treats drug addicts at Clinique Cameleon, said it appears that more fentanyl is being produced locally, rather than imported and that the labs that produce the drug are much harder to locate than the messy ones used in methamphetamine production.

“There’s probably a lot of other labs like that. It’s the tip of the iceberg, probably. I’m surprised we’re producing more and more fentanyl and only a year ago, we were getting that from Asia.”

She pointed out that many drug-users are not seeking out fentanyl, but heroin. Dealers are adding the fentanyl as a means to up their own profits.

“If you cut heroin, which is an opioid, with fentanyl, which is another opioid but much more potent, you can get much more money for less heroin because it’s so powerful you don’t need as much as usual to get people addicted,” she said. “People who buy it just don’t know it.”

According to Montreal Public Health director Carole Morissette overdoses in Montreal spiked in August but have since gone down. Still, she called the situation “unstable” and said officials are monitoring overdoses on a week-to-week basis.

While the crisis is growing, Morin said thus far, Montreal has taken some positive steps such as making the overdose-treating drug naloxone publically available. She added that one controversial recommendation that Public Health has been reluctant to adopt is making drug-testing equipment – kits that test for the presence of fentanyl in other drugs – available to those who want them.

“We need drug testing. I personally want to do drug testing as music festivals during summer, but it’s a very sensitive subject,” she said. “If we want to know if there’s fentanyl in drugs, we have to test them before using it, not after.”

Even then, she acknowledges, there are different types of fentanyl and tests currently only detect one of them.

Still, due to just how potent fentanyl is – 40 times more than heroin and 100 times more powerful than morphine – Morin said something must be done to prevent deaths. Carfentanil, an advanced compound, is another 100 times more potent than fentanyl itself.

“Using opiates is playing Russian Roulette, because you don’t know what you’re going to use,” she said. “The thing I’m more worried about is opiate addicts have to use, they can’t stop. It’s not like cocaine addiction, it’s not even like methamphetamine addictions. They have to use because if they don’t, they get sick.”