Ontario may soon see an emerging fentanyl crisis, similar to what the rest of Canada and the U.S. are experiencing. This anticipation stems from a string of recent and increasing synthetic drug seizures in the province, according to Joe Couto, spokesman for the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP).

Ontario May Experience Fentanyl Crisis
Source: CBC

Bootleg Fentanyl

Overdose alerts and bootleg fentanyl seizures in Ontario have been at a record high in 2016. Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council’s Michael Parkinson weighs in: “Those [people] repackaging and trafficking are very much amateur chemists, dealing with a substance that is lethal in micrograms… so a small error can mean a large number of overdose fatalities.”

Fatalities in the Thousands

To really put things into perspective, Ohio experienced 1,155 deaths in 2015, and 78 deaths in two days last week alone. In British Columbia, fatalities due to fentanyl overdoses are up 74% since the beginning of 2016.

Because of the numbers above, Ontario law enforcement is on-edge, preparing themselves for a crisis, if and/or when it strikes. “The feeling is that we’re sitting on a ticking time bomb and it’s about to explode,” adds Parkinson. It is crucial to be prepared in the event of a crisis in Ontario, as a fentanyl overdose happens quickly and cannot be treated so easily. At the moment, Naloxone is the quickest method of treating an overdose, and even emergency providers have been seeing a spike in Naloxone doses.

Michael Parkinson continues, discussing drugs that could be contaminated with synthetic fentanyl: “These fentanyls are seeping into drugs like heroin and cocaine as counterfeit pills… most people will be completely unaware that their substance has been contaminated by the fentanyls.”

Through the precautions being taken, it is hoped that the fentanyl epidemic becomes a priority for the government.