Potent version of fentanyl blamed in overdose death

Police believe woman used methylfentanyl that she believed to be heroin.

An Abbotsford woman died in late June after overdosing on methylfentanyl she may have believed was heroin.

An Abbotsford woman died in late June after overdosing on methylfentanyl she may have believed was heroin.

A young Abbotsford woman is dead after overdosing on a particularly toxic version of fentanyl, a potentially deadly sedative that was the subject of a police warning less than two months ago.

The woman, in her mid-20s, died on June 30 after being found unresponsive in her central Abbotsford home. A preliminary toxicology report suggests the woman had taken methylfentanyl, an analog of fentanyl that  Abbotsford Police Const. Ian MacDonald said is at least 10 times as strong.

MacDonald said the woman who died was an “occasional user” of drugs, but was otherwise an average person in her mid-20s who “would present herself as your neighbour [would].”

Police believe the woman thought she was taking heroin, but instead had received a dose of methylfentanyl.

Making the drug even riskier is the fact that it did not appear to be mixed with heroin. Users have told police that heroin mixed with regular fentanyl was sometimes identifiable by its colour, which changed when the drugs were mixed together. Because the methylfentanyl was cut with other agents, MacDonald said it doesn’t present much differently from ordinary heroin.

“We haven’t seen a lot of this, but we’re concerned there can be more,” MacDonald said.

Police had previously issued a warning on May 20 warning that fentanyl-laced heroin was being distributed locally.