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Majority of illicit drug users know their drugs contain fentanyl: study

Last Updated Jan 25, 2020 at 11:10 am PDT

FILE - Fentanyl pills are shown in an undated police handout photo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Alberta Law Enforcement Response)
Summary

According to a new study, most illicit drug users know the drugs they are taking contain fentanyl

Dr. Jane Buxton with the BC Centre for Disease Control says it's alarming, given the dangers of ingesting the opioid

The centre says fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Warning people who use drugs that they may be ingesting fentanyl, may be the wrong approach to decreasing opioid overdoses.

A new report reveals 64 per cent of drug users know fentanyl is mixed in with their drugs.

Dr. Jane Buxton, with the BC Centre for Disease Control, which helped put together the report, says it also shows more people are seeking out the powerful opioid.

“We did a similar study in 2015, and 29 per cent of people had fentanyl in their urine. It’s more than doubled this time,” she says.

She says the report shows that people should have access to drugs that aren’t tainted with the potentially lethal opioid.

“Researchers do not fully understand the factors that contribute to people knowingly taking fentanyl, but the reasons are varied,” the study reads.

Buxton recommends if you are using drugs never to do it alone, make sure a naloxone kit is nearby and never mix it with other substances.

The study surveyed 303 people who access services at 27 harm reduction sites across the province in 2018.