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Fentanyl is a synthetic (man-made) opioid that is more toxic than most other opioids, and can be prescribed by a physician to help control severe pain. Fentanyl is also being produced in illegal labs and sold on the streets, often mixed with other drugs. Increasingly, fentanyl is being detected in overdose deaths in BC.

About Fentanyl

Why is fentanyl dangerous?

Fentanyl is around 20 to 40 times more toxic than heroin and 50 to 100 times more toxic than morphine, which makes the risk of accidental overdose higher. When fentanyl is combined with other opioids (like heroin, morphine, methadone or codeine), alcohol, benzodiazepines, or cocaine or methamphetamines, it can further increase the risk of accidental overdose. Combining substances (including alcohol), intentionally or unintentionally, increases overdose risk.  It’s also important to be aware that drugs other than fentanyl can also be lethal, and that there is no quality control or regulated manufacturing process for illegal drugs.

Where is it coming from?

Illicit fentanyl is manufactured in clandestine overseas drug labs, both overseas and in Canada. It may be cut into powders or pressed into pills prior to being sold.

Where is it found?

Fentanyl is sometimes sold as fentanyl but other illegal drugs can also contain it, including heroin, cocaine, oxycodone, crack or meth. It may be in drugs that are in powder, liquid or pill form.

These drugs may contain toxic contaminants or have different levels of fentanyl in each batch. Even pills produced in the same batch may have little to lethal levels of fentanyl.

What can you do?

Be aware that drugs obtained from anywhere other than a pharmacy or a hospital may not be what you think they are, or what others believe them to be.

Learn how to  recognize and respond to a drug overdose.

See our tips for safer substance use.


  • Vancouver Coastal RADAR Alert - InSite - April 25th, 2018 April 26, 2018 • Posted by MK/SY/TG

    Insite has responded to 18 overdoses on April 24th and 25th.

    Staff are reporting increased severity of overdose.  

    Rigidity & slowing of heart has been observed and are responsive to Naloxone.

    Key Messages: 

    -don’t use alone
    -carry Naloxone
    -don’t mix substances, esp depressants
    -use SCS/OPS
    -stagger use
    -test doses

  • Campbell River Overdose Alert - April 20th, 2018April 20, 2018 • Posted by MK/SY

    Overdose Advisory
    There has been overdose deaths in
    Campbell River in the past 48hrs from
    injection and smoking of heroin!
    Call 9-1-1 Right Away.
    Provide Rescue Breathing.
    Use Naloxone If You Have It.
    Strategies for safer use:
     New drugs - try a small amount first
     Avoid using alone, use with a friend
     Stagger your use with friends so someone can respond if needed
     Carry Naloxone and have an overdose response plan
     Go to the Overdose Prevention Site:
    1371 C Cedar Street, Campbell River


Know Your Source

Know Your Source

A fentanyl campaign from public health and law enforcement agencies. 

Opioid Overdose Awareness

Opioid Overdose Awareness

Our web page features risks, signs and how to respond.