New drug on Montreal's streets even more potent than fentanyl: public health

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By Iman Kassam and Adam Kovac, CTV News Montreal

MONTREAL -- A new drug that is even more powerful than fentanyl is circulating on Montreal's streets, according to public health officials.

Isotonitazene, a chemically manufactured opioid, has killed at least one person in Montreal. Jean-Francois Mary of harm reduction organization Cactus Montreal said similar drugs are often made in illegal labs, where cross-contamination and dosage size are risky variables.

Mary said he believes part of the solution the problem posed by opioides is legalization.

“People die because drug traffickers have had to divert into substances that are more portent and more profitable, but this potency kills,” he said. “Look in the pharmacy, there are very dangerous substances that are prescribes, they are given and people sometimes abuse them. But we don't have so many deaths from because the quantity is controlled. Even when people abuse them, they can know how much they took.”

He said illegally-made pills don't let users know how much Isotonitazene or fentanyl they're ingesting.

Montreal public health seized 2,000 astonishment pills in August and is advising users that naloxone can be used to reverse the effects of an overdose.

Naloxone kits are available at most pharmacies. Anyone calling 911 to report an overdose has immunity from simple drug possession charges under the Good Samaritans Rescuing Overdose Victims Act.  

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