A drug alert is in effect for the West Kootenay after the Interior Health Authority (IH) found the powerful narcotic carfentanil in area street drugs sold as “fentanyl or down.”
Several drug samples tested in Grand Forks and Trail earlier this week came back positive not only for carfentanil, but also its related forms, as well as the “strong and long-lasting benzodiazepine” flualprazolam, according to IH. The drugs pose a “high overdose risk” in users, including death, prompting the health authority to extend the alert for a week starting Thursday, Dec. 2.
Benzodiazepines, such as alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin) amd diazepam (Valium), are heavy sedatives. These so-called benzos are potentially deadly when mixed with narcotics like heroin, fentanyl and all its derivatives, because benzos can’t be counteracted by Naloxone, the active ingredient used to resuscitate drug users from overdoses of narcotics.
Drug tests by the AIDS Network Kootenay Outreach and Support Society (ANKORS) suggest that carfentanil and flualprazolam are highly prevalent across the region. Out of 10 drug samples from Trail and Grand Forks sent for analysis Friday, Nov. 26, ANKORS’ Drug Checking co-ordinator Amelia Martzke said eight contained carfentanil and flualprazolam, while seven contained related forms of carfentanil.
For more information about how to recover from substance addiction, visit the IH’s Mental Health and Addiction Services-Boundary office at 7441 Second St. in Grand Forks. The office can be reached at 250-442-0330.