Dangerous new street drug found in two Maritime provinces: police
Police in Halifax and Saint John are warning residents about the discovery of a dangerous new street drug they say is similar to fentanyl.
Halifax Regional Police say they found the drug while conducting a number of searches as part of an investigation over a two-week period last month.
Police seized multiple items, including 1900 unknown pills, during a search at a home on Dentith Road in Halifax on Feb. 12.
The drugs were sent to Health Canada for analysis. Health Canada confirmed the tablets are isotonitazene -- a synthetic opioid police say is similar to, but stronger than, fentanyl.
This is the first time Halifax Regional Police have seized the drug, which was also recently found in New Brunswick.
The Saint John Police Force says its street crime unit seized the drug during a recent investigation in the city.
Police say the pill is a white triangular tablet with rounded corners. It has an “M” on one side and the number “8” on the other side.
They also say the appearance of the pill may lead people to believe they are consuming a different drug.
Police say testing shows isotonitazene would respond to Naloxone -- a medication that can temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose – but someone might require several doses for it to be effective.
Police say iotonitazene can also present a threat to someone handling it without taking the proper precautions.
"By sharing this information, we are making the public and emergency personnel aware of a new drug that can have serious consequences if consumed or exposed to,” said Jim Hennessy, communications manager for the Saint John Police Force.
“The SJPF continually works to ensure this and other drugs are not readily available through ongoing investigations.”
Police are urging anyone who consumes the drug to seek medical assistance.
Julie Dingwell, who oversees a harm reduction clinic in the uptown of Saint John, describes a new street drug found by police as "poison."
It's a drug that looks a lot like other illicit drugs typically found in circulation.
"It's just so frightening because when I was showing it to people here on the desk, they said, that's a Dilaudid 8," Dingwell said. "I said, 'no it's not a Dilaudid 8, it's been made to look like a Dilaudid 8.'"
The drug is like other so-called designer drugs in that it can be dangerous to even handle it without taking precautions.