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Drug Safety

Fentanyl

Touching or ingesting even a small amount of pure Fentanyl can render a person unconscious and in need of immediate medical attention.

“All it takes is the equivalent of three grains of salt on your skin or tongue to cause respiratory distress,” says Detective Guy Pilon with EPS Drug & Gang Section.

In its legal prescription form, Fentanyl is a powerful pain killer. The street version, which goes under various names including Apache, China Girl, and Dance Fever, was responsible for 100 deaths in Alberta in 2014.

“It’s fifty to a hundred times more potent than morphine and thirty to fifty times more potent than heroin,” Pilon says.

That potency is why Fentanyl is growing in popularity among drug addicts. And why so many addicts end up overdosing.

The only cure for a Fentanyl overdose is Naloxone, an anti-opioid that can counteract the drug’s effects.

“A person overdosing on Fentanyl will experience an immediate decrease in their breathing and heart rate,” Pilon warns. “It’s crucial they receive emergency medical attention immediately.”


Ecstasy & PMMA

It’s known by users as the ultimate "love drug” but its exhilarating high comes with serious lows and consequences, says Det. Guy Pilon, a drug expert with the EPS Drug and Gang Section.

Paramethoxymethamphetamine (PMMA), a compound not previously associated with Ecstasy, has been consumed under the understanding that it is indeed ecstasy. This chemical is responsible for the sudden increase of deaths associated with the use of what is believed to be Ecstasy. A tablet containing just ecstasy and a tablet tainted with PMMA looks just the same, and it’s impossible to tell what percentage of any drug or chemical makes up the tablet(s). 

“There is no control in the manufacturing of ecstasy nor will the person selling these pills know what the true content is. Even though users are obtaining Ecstasy from a perceived reliable dealer, the dealer may not be aware of the contents of the pills he/she is selling,” says Det. Pilon.


Ketamine

Ketamine is strong enough to knock a horse out - or distort a drug user's perception of reality. It's a dissociative anesthetic manufactured for use on large animals. In humans, Ketamine alters a person's perception of sights and sounds, with potentially deadly consequences.


GHB

Gamma Hydroxybutyric (GHB) is commonly used as a date-rape drug. It's a colourless and odourless, can provide a soapy or salty taste, and comes in white powder form or as a clear liquid with a syrup-like appearance. GHB causes you to feel less anxious while lowering inhibitions. The effects are similar to drinking a large quantity of alcohol, however, it has rapid onset and results in short term memory loss.


Bath Salts

Not to be compared with the products consumers can purchase to scent their bath water, the drug known as “bath salts” contains amphetamine-like chemicals such as methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV).

Its deadly effects include paranoia, hallucinations, convulsions and psychotic episodes. The drug is typically eaten, snorted, injected or smoked for its effects.

"This drug has such horrific side-effects," said Det. Guy Pilon, of the EPS Drug Section.