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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.


  • Interior Health - Drug Alert - West Kootenay/Kootenay BoundaryDecember 02, 2021 • Posted by Interior Health

    Interior Heath has issued a regional DRUG ALERT for West Kootenay/Kootenay Boundary areas and especially in the communities of Trail and Grand Forks after multiple drug samples tested were found to contain Carfentanil, Carfentanil analogues & Flualprazolam (a strong and long-lasting benzodiazepine analogue). There is a high overdose risk with possible sever consequences including death. In addition there is a risk for prolonged sedation.    

    Click here for poster. 

    For your safety: 

    • Get your drugs checked - find locations at
    • Avoid mixing 
    • Use with others around or at an Overdose Prevention Site (OPS)
    • Start with a small amount
    • Carry naloxone and know how to use it 
    • Get the LifeGuard App -
    • Call 211 or visit to find services near you 


    More information and drug checking results at



  • Northern Health - Overdose Alert - Quesnel December 02, 2021 • Posted by Northern Health

    Northern Heath has issued an OVERDOSE ALERT for QUESNEL after an increase in overdose events in the community. The reported substance is light purple/blue in powder/ pebbles sold as down, when broken apart it turns pink.

    This substance is highly toxic, causes heavy and prolonged sedation, and requires more naloxone to reverse. Overdoses are occurring when the substance is injected.


    Click here for the poster.

    For your safety:

    • Don't use alone, use in an OPS if possible
    • If you plan to use alone, use the free Lifeguard or BeSafe app
    • Don’t mix with other substances
    • Carry and know how to use naloxone
    • Call 911 or your local emergency number right away if someone overdoses
  • BC Provincial Emergency AlertNovember 24, 2021 • Posted by Toward the Heart

    BC Provincial Emergency Alert

    Emergency Response Across BC

    • The flooding/road closures may cause disruptions to the illicit drug supply across BC, which can increase toxicity and risk of overdose
    • There is no shortage of naloxone in BC and we are working to ensure distribution to sites across the province


    • Use an Overdose Prevention Site, if you can. FIND AN OPS
    • Pick up a naloxone kit and harm reduction supplies near you. Some distribution sites may be affected by delivery disruptions so when possible, check in with the site first FIND A SITE
    • Get your drugs checked FIND A LOCATION
    • Avoid using alone. Find a buddy or have someone check on you.
    • When using with a buddy is not possible, consider using an app like Brave or Lifeguard or virtual spotting. How to spot someone by video or phone from CAPUD.
    • Talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner about how to access prescription medications to reduce overdose risk and prevent withdrawal. Refer them to these guidelines or Click here for more info.
    • Pharmacies in BC can provide emergency refills of prescription medications – check with your local pharmacy for emergency refills as needed.



    Check your local Health Authority websites for local alerts

    Updated: November 24, 2021

    Remove date: December 8, 2021


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.