Heroin sample in Abbotsford tests negative for fentanyl

Police sent the drug for testing following a rash of heroin overdoses in the community since mid-May.

Fentanyl seized by police in Prince George in April 2013.

Fentanyl seized by police in Prince George in April 2013.

A heroin sample that the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) sent for testing has come back negative for fentanyl.

But Const. Ian MacDonald said the possibility still exists that fentanyl is contained in other doses being sold or used in the community.

Earlier this week, police warned that a potent form of heroin was believed to be responsible for a spike in heroin overdoses. As of Thursday, there had been eight such cases – one of them fatal – since mid-May.

MacDonald said the APD had recorded a 39 per cent increase in the last several weeks in the number of calls to assist at scenes with people in medical distress.

Front-line officers had spoken with many people who were reporting severe reactions to heroin.

It was suspected that fentanyl – which is 100 times more potent than morphine – could have been used as a cutting agent in the drugs being used locally.

But although a sample obtained by the APD indicated a more potent form of heroin than would normally be sold in the streets, there was no trace of fentanyl.

MacDonald said the recent overdoses draw attention to the risks of using street drugs.

“These drugs are not being made in pharmaceutical government-standard conditions … They are being made by drug dealers and drug suppliers so you’re going to get some variation (in the potency),” MacDonald said.

He said police plan to obtain other heroin samples to test them for fentanyl.

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