Potentially deadly fentanyl-containing cocaine circulating in Victoria, lab warns

Fentanyl is part of Victoria’s cocaine supply. That’s what a street drug testing site is warning the public after several cocaine samples tested positive for a small concentration of fentanyl.

The substance UVic says fentanyl is not normally found cut in cocaine, and even if concentrations were below 0.25%, advocates warn, it could still be fatal.

“The scary thing is that if cocaine users encounter fentanyl and they’re not used to it, they’re not tolerant to it, it can lead to an overdose and even lead to death,” said said Leslie McBain, founder of Stop Mom’s Evil.

The discovery comes as British Columbia is going through a long and tragic opioid crisis. More than 2,200 people died of drug overdoses in the province last year.

“Illegal drug toxicity is the leading cause of unnatural deaths in British Columbia, accounting for more deaths than suicides, homicides, motor vehicle incidents, drownings and fire-related deaths combined,” said Michael Eglison, March 9, 2022, BC Coroners Service Death Review Panel: A Review of Illicit Drug Toxicity Deaths.

Experts say the current illicit drug supply is more toxic and less predictable than ever.

“If you don’t want fentanyl, people need to test their meds,” McBain warned.

But McBain also says the tests have their limitations.

Drug tests can be purchased from specialty sites or pharmacies, but drug tests do not show the potency or strength of fentanyl. Beyond that, drug testing takes time, which many people who use drugs may not have.

Thus, McBain joins many others who are calling for a safe and regulated drug supply.

“We would like to see a safe supply of all the drugs people are looking for,” McBain said.

To curb this crisis that is killing thousands of British Columbians.

“Let’s keep people alive,” McBain said.

In response to BC’s most recent coroner’s review, Premier John Horgan has established a multi-partisan health committee to investigate the overdose crisis.

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