“…any amount in pure form or even in cut form can be potentially lethal if not handled appropriately”
“I felt dizzy, I felt nauseous…it was a feeling of helplessness too."
“I felt like my body was shutting down"
“…it was just a little bit of powder that puffed up in the air…it was so quick and such a small amount we didn’t even have time to think"
The status and trends of the illicit drug trade, which includes Fentanyl, Fentanyl analogues and other potent synthetic opioids and analgesics in Canada are ever evolving. The intention of this site is to provide first responders with accurate safety information related to situations where opioids may be involved.
Fentanyl, Fentanyl analogues and other potent synthetic opioids and analgesics may be absorbed through the skin, allowing the drug to enter a person’s body without the typical illicit drug ingestion methods such as smoking, snorting, injection, etc. In addition, opioids may be inadvertently inhaled in situations where suspected drug samples are disturbed and particles become airborne. These exposures may place other people, including first responders, at potential risk.
The LD50 (lethal dose) for pure Fentanyl, is estimated at 2 milligrams (mgs) for a typical adult [Reference: RCMP and United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA]. Since illicit drugs are typically diluted or cut with inert materials, exposure of first responders to pure forms of opioids are less likely. However, inconsistent mixing of illicit drugs may mean that high concentrations may still be encountered, and small amounts can still be dangerous. Any sample suspected of containing opioids requires adequate preparation, protection and care in handling.
Proper care of overdose victims and handling of suspected drug samples requires maintaining an awareness of:
The site was developed by JIBC with funding from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. The creation of this website would not have been possible without tremendous assistance from colleagues in the first responder community, both from Canada and the United States, Health Canada, BC Ministry of Health, BC Coroner’s Office, BC Emergency Health Services and contacts within the medical profession.