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Nanaimo RCMP confirm through lab tests carfentanil on the Island

NANAIMO – Authorities say carfentanil is 100 times stronger than fentanyl.

Nanaimo RCMP says it has confirmed through lab tests that carfentanil has made its way to Nanaimo.

According to Nanaimo RCMP, as part of an ongoing investigation, an unknown white powder was seized by investigators during the execution of a search warrant. A sample of this powder was forwarded for analysis to Health Canada, which confirmed the presence of the lethal opioid carfentanil.

Carfentanil is a form of the synthetic opioid fentanyl. However, police say it is 100 times strong than fentanyl, which has caused a health crisis from overdose in B.C.

"An amount as small as grain of sand could be fatal,' said Const. Gary O'Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, in a press release.

Carfentanil is an extremely toxic and lethal drug and there is currently no way for people to know whether it is contained in illegal drugs, said Dr. Charmaine Enns, medical health officer with Island Health.

"Now that we know carfentanil is on Vancouver Island, I can’t emphasize enough the importance for anyone who uses illegal drugs to ensure they are reducing risk of overdose by following harm reduction measures," she said. "For anyone who may be considering experimenting with illegal drugs, this is certainly not the time to do that, given this confirmation of the presence of lethal carfentanil."

Island Health urges anyone who uses illegal drugs to practice harm reduction measures, such as:

Avoid using alone. Fix with a sober friend;

Try a small amount of new drugs first;

Stagger use with friends so someone can respond if needed;

Avoid using more than one drug at a time (stacking drugs increases risk of overdoses and contributes to more severe overdoses);

Carry and use naloxone and have an overdose response plan;

Be close to help;

Use an Overdose Prevention Service. Information on overdose prevention and a listing of overdose prevention sites on Vancouver Island can be found on the Island Health website at

The RCMP says it continues to work with its partners to monitor, detect and test for the presence of toxic and/or lethal substances entering the illicit drug market, in an effort to intercept and remove them before they hit the streets.