Police warn about potent heroin in Abbotsford

The drug fentanyl may be responsible for a rash of overdoses in the area.

Abbotsford Police believe a potent form of heroin is currently being bought, sold and used in the community.

Const. Ian MacDonald said there have been seven heroin overdoses – one of them fatal – in Abbotsford since mid-May, but the actual numbers could be higher.

“We expect a lot of cases to go unreported,” he said.

MacDonald said front-line officers have spoken with many people who are reporting severe reactions, and the department has recorded a 39 per cent increase in the last several weeks in the number of calls for assistance for people in medical distress.

He said a possible explanation for the overdoses could be the presence of fentanyl in the drugs.

At the end of May, the provincial health officer warned health-care workers to watch for potential overdoses related to fentanyl.

The BC Coroners Service indicated there had been 23 deaths related to fentanyl in the first four months of 2013, compared to 20 such deaths in all of 2012.

During a 2006 fentanyl epidemic in Chicago, 342 people died.

Other jurisdictions – including the RCMP in Kelowna, Prince George and the Sunshine Coast – have also warned that fentanyl was being sold in their areas and marketed as heroin, speed and oxycodone.

Fentanyl can look identical to heroin or oxycodone, but can be 100 times more potent than morphine.

MacDonald said it is sometimes used as a cutting agent in heroin to produce a more powerful product and increase sales.

“If you want people to think your product is better, if people take potent heroin and don’t die, then the word on the street is that there is some pretty good heroin out there.”

MacDonald said Abbotsford Police have obtained a sample of locally obtained heroin and have sent it for testing. Although results have not yet come back to see whether it contains fentanyl, he said police wanted to issue a warning now.

Users are being advised to reduce the amount of heroin they inject and to not shoot up alone. At the first sign of medical distress, such as difficulty breathing or loss of consciousness, 911 should be called.

TV star Cory Monteith died of an overdose of heroin and alcohol in Vancouver on July 13, and the BC Coroners Service stated on Wednesday that fentanyl did not play a role.

Just Posted

Adam Hobbs went missing from a Langley work site on Monday, June 14 and may have gone to Vancouver. (Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Family, RCMP seek Abbotsford man missing from Langley job site

Adam Hobbs lives in Abbotsford and is a minor hockey referee

Police were on scene Monday afternoon (June 14) in the area of George Ferguson Way and Ware Street. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
Police called out after reports of possible home invasion in Abbotsford

Incident on Monday afternoon at George Ferugson Way and Ware Street

Migrating sockeye in the Fraser River August 7, 2007. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
First Nations, commercial, and recreational harvesters join forces to save Fraser River fish

‘We have to work together to rebuild these stocks while there is still time,’ says delegate

The Vancouver Canucks have polled season ticket holders on team name options for the new Abbotsford AHL team.
Vancouver Canucks poll season tickets holders on Abbotsford AHL team name

List asks fans to rank three out of 10 options, also if Abbotsford or Fraser Valley should be used

The Aquilini Investment Group and the city of Abbotsford have agreed to terms on related to management of the Abbotsford Centre.
Aquilini Investment Group awarded Abbotsford Centre contract

Canucks ownership group, city of Abbotsford come to agreement on terms

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Dr. Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers tested more than 230 commonly used cosmetics and found that 56% of foundations and eye products, 48% of lip products and 47% of mascaras contained high levels of fluorine

White Rock’s Marine Drive has been converted to one-way traffic to allow more patio space for waterfront restaurants. (Peace Arch News)
Province promotes permanent pub patios in B.C. post-pandemic plan

More than 2,000 temporary expansions from COVID-19 rules

Lake City Secondary School Williams Lake campus students Ethan Reid, from left, Brenden Higgins, Ty Oviatt, Kaleb Alphonse, Nathan Kendrick and Landon Brink with RCMP officers Const. Nicoll and Const. Stancec. (Photo submitted)
RCMP thank 6 teens for helping prevent forest fire in Williams Lake

The students came across fire in a wooded area and used the water they had to try and extinguish the flames

There is an emergency shelter near the Golden Ears peaks. (Facebook/Special to The News)
Hiker fogged in on Golden Ears, spends 2 nights

Talon Helicopters, Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue bring him home Monday

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read