SURREY — Local police are warning families and friends of drug abusers to be especially vigilant over the holidays because narcotics laced with fentanyl are resulting in overdoses and in the case of a Surrey woman on Tuesday, death.
The Surrey RCMP and paramedics have responded to a large number of accidental fentanyl-related overdoses in recent months, Cpl. Scotty Schumann said. He noted the substance is up to 100 times more toxic than morphine “and only a small amount is required to cause serious harm or death.”
Surrey RCMP Chief Supt. Bill Fordy noted that the types and quantities of so-called recreational drugs that people used to consider to be safe are now often cut and mixed with agents like fentanyl “that have the ability to seriously harm or even kill.
“Parents are advised to keep a closer eye on their young adult children,” he said.
Fentanyl is a respiratory depressant that when combined with other drugs can’t be seen, smelled or tasted. Early symptoms of a fentanyl overdose are severe sleepiness, slow heartbeat, trouble breathing, slow, shallow breathing or snoring, cold clammy skin and trouble walking or talking.
Dr. Marcus Lem, of Fraser Health, fentanyl in lethal doses in circulating in the community and is being disguised as cocaine, heroin and other drugs including prescription medication.
“If you are using drugs, please do not mix these substances with alcohol,” Lem advises. “Have a buddy with you who is not using drugs at the same time and is willing and able to call for medical help if you need it.”