Powerful narcotic connected to overdose at Sask. Pen

Saskatchewan Penitentiary. (Herald File Photo)

A substance that apparently caused an overdose at Saskatchewan Penitentiary last month has tested positive for carfentanil, a drug said to be 100 times more powerful than fentanyl.

The RCMP reported that a 22-year-old inmate was found unresponsive at the federal institution on July 15 at about 9 a.m. He was treated with naloxone, a drug that can reverse the effects of an narcotic overdose, and sent to hospital. He survived.

A substance connected to the incident was sent to Health Canada for tests. The RCMP received information confirming the presence of carfentanil this Thursday.

The RCMP say that this is the first time the powerful painkiller has turned up in Saskatchewan RCMP jurisdiction. They warned that the drug is reportedly 100 times stronger than fentanyl, itself a powerful opioid medication wreaking havoc in cities across the country.

In a press release, police cautioned that an amount weighing less than a grain of salt could be enough to kill a human.

“There are severe consequences to being exposed to, possessing or using synthetic opioid drugs. All it can take is being in the presence of carfentanil to put yourself at serious risk of injury or death,” said Supt. Rob Cameron, Officer in Charge of RCMP Federal Policing.

The release also said that the drug can be mixed with other substances, or contaminated with unknown chemicals.