Chief Medical Officer, Public Safety Director Carfentanil Update

Justice/Health and Wellness

May 2, 2018 2:22 PM

Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and Director of Public Safety are reminding Nova Scotians of the presence of a dangerous opioid in Nova Scotia.

Last week, the Office of the Medical Examiner confirmed the presence of carfentanil in a probable opioid overdose death. Carfentanil is an opioid that is substantially more potent than fentanyl. This is the first suspected carfentanil-related overdose in the province.

“While this is the first time we’ve seen evidence of carfentanil consumption in Nova Scotia, it is not entirely unexpected,” said Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health. “This is a good time to remind Nova Scotians of the risks associated with the use of street drugs – not only opioids, but any drug in pill or powdered form – and to always carry naloxone.”

The individual died in the Halifax Regional Municipality in early March. The death investigation is ongoing and the exact cause and manner of death have not yet been determined.

“We want Nova Scotians to understand the serious risks they are taking when they choose to use street drugs,” said Roger Merrick, director of public safety with the Department of Justice. “We are asking anyone who is going to consume street drugs to take steps to reduce the risks, including carrying naloxone and informing others who may use drugs that naloxone is available.”

If you choose to use drugs, it’s important to do so safely. Don’t use alone. Always carry naloxone. Free life-saving naloxone kits are available in community pharmacies across the province.

Always call 911 in the event of an overdose emergency. Good Samaritan laws protect bystanders from criminal prosecution when calling for help in this situation. To learn more about the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act, visit https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/substance-abuse/prescription-drug-abuse/opioids/about-good-samaritan-drug-overdose-act.html .

For more on government’s response to opioid use and overdose in Nova Scotia and to get a free naloxone kit, visit http://www.novascotia.ca/opioid .