Canada seeing increase in highly concentrated fentanyl, says VicPD

Canada seeing increase in highly concentrated fentanyl, says VicPD
WatchVictoria Police announced a massive fentanyl drug bust on Thursday. Officers seized a kilogram of the lethal drug, but what's even more concerning? It was a 90 per cent concentration, enough to kill nearly half a million people.

A kilogram of fentanyl, seized by Victoria Police Strike Force officers and the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team, is now secure at the department after a successful drug trafficking bust last month.

The bucket of drugs, with a street value of more than $1 million, was taken during an arrest on the 0-block of Dallas Road on Oct. 21. 

While the suspect was arrested and no one was injured, what they found was concerning.

“It has a concentration of 90 per cent, which is rare. Typically samples are found to contain 10 per cent fentanyl, said spokesperson for the VicPD, Const. Cam MacIntyre. “This dangerous, highly concentrated fentanyl, seized by Strike Force officers, could supply an estimated 495,000 lethal doses.”

VicPD says high concentrations like this are on an upward trend across the nation.

“In 2019, there was only one sample seized by police that had been tested that had a purity between 75 and 100 per cent. In 2020 we are now up to seven samples with that high concentration,” said VicPD Acting Inspector Conor King, a provincially-recognized drug expert.

B.C. has seen record-breaking overdose deaths amid the pandemic, and the rise in fentanyl concentration is making matters worse.

“Fentanyl by itself is responsible for 80 per cent of the deaths related to overdose. This is a very serious situation, with a very toxic drug supply, and it’s translated so far into 91 deaths in Victoria this year,” said Island Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Richard Stanwick.

Victoria’s police chief joins other departments across B.C. asking for safe supply and says this seizure was just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to drug trafficking in the community.

“There are many organized crime groups in our communities. I can tell you they’re highly organized and highly sophisticated. They require a tremendous amount of resources,” said Victoria Police Chief Del Manak.

But he says those resources aren’t there for the VicPD.

“These lethal and dangerous drugs are in our communities far too often. I wish I had another team that would complement our Strike Force Unit, I can say I would keep them busy full time,” said Manak.

The suspect is facing charges of drug trafficking and VicPD Strike Force officers will be recommending several drug-trafficking related charges against two men from Surrey, and a man and a woman from Vancouver.

READ MORE: Overdose advisory issued for Greater Victoria by Island Health

Rebecca LawrenceRebecca Lawrence

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