WATCH: Officials say a dozen deaths linked to Fentanyl overdoses within past month
Health officials are acknowledging fentanyl use has become a serious problem in Montreal.
According to the Quebec coroner's office, the drug has been responsible for 12 deaths in the past month and as many as 90 this year. Recent data suggests one in five of drug users in Montreal are exposed to the opioid, sometimes without their knowledge.
Montreal police chief Philippe Pichet says a plan is underway to have officers equipped with Naloxon, a temporary antidote for fentanyl overdoses, so that it can be distributed on the spot if necessary. Jessica Turmel with outreach group GRIP Montreal tells CTV Naloxon is only available for free in five Montreal pharmacies, and needs to be made more readily available. Turmel recommends it be carried by paramedics, and even by drug users themselves.
Staff in Montreal hospitals are also being encouraged to collect urine samples from overdose patients to help in monitoring the situation.
Officials estimate fentanyl is roughly 40 times more potent than heroin.