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Drug strategy committee, North Bay police on high alert as new ‘powerful’ substances found laced in fentanyl

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The Community Drug Strategy Committee of North Bay & Area and police are on high alert warning the public of two new dangerous substances found in the emerging unregulated opioid supply.

The two most common narcotics found on North Bay’s streets remain meth and opioids – specifically fentanyl. Two strengths of prescription fentanyl patches in official packaging. (Eric Taschner/CTV News Northern Ontario)They were found by drug-checking services in Toronto and police fear they could make their way up to North Bay since the city is caught in the crosshairs of two major highways.

Using cups of coffee and salt, North Bay police Sgt. Brad Reaume mixed them together, showing how careless drug traffickers are when packaging and selling dangerous substances.

“It’s very crude,” he said.

“It’s not produced properly.”

The coffee represents fentanyl and the salt is the “cutting agent,” he explained.

Reaume said often when police execute search warrants and find drugs being made in homes, most of the time they discover there is no proper mixing done and then when it’s divided up for consumption, portions are not even.

“So anything in this area is going to cause quite likely going to cause an overdose or significant reaction,” Reaume said, pointing to the coffee mixture.

“Some people may not get anything in their consumption. Others will just have it all.”

Sgt. Brad Reaume of the North Bay Police Service explains how traffickers often cut drugs using salt and coffee. (Eric Taschner/CTV News Northern Ontario)

This is what emergency responders are seeing – traffickers are making these drugs in homes using pots and pans.

“Northern Ontario is very high as far as opiates and the mortality around that,” said Pat Cliché, the coordinator for Community Drug Strategy North Bay & Area.

The two most common narcotics found on North Bay’s streets remain meth and opioids – specifically fentanyl. Police are now shifting focus to crack down on drug traffickers from out of town as statistics show they are doing the most damage.

“People from outside of our community are attracted to North Bay because the price of drugs in North Bay is higher than the price of drugs in larger communities like Toronto,” said Reaume.

“It's something that we put as a priority for all of our investigations because of the risk that's associated with the death rate.”

In the fentanyl being pulled from Toronto’s street drug supply are two new dangerous substances found laced inside that do not respond well to the life-saving medication known as naloxone.

Xyalzine is a non-opioid tranquilizer used by veterinarians that can lower heart rate, blood pressure and breathing.

The other substances found are called Benzodiazepines. These are depressants that produce sedation and hypnosis. Combining Xylazine with Benzodiazepines and opioids can significantly depress vital body functions, increasing the risk of overdose and death.

“It’s very powerful,” said Reamue.

Sgt. Brad Reaume of the North Bay Police Service talks with CTV News about new 'powerful' and dangerous substances found in the emerging unregulated opioid supply in Ontario and beyond. (Eric Taschner/CTV News Northern Ontario)

These drugs have become very prevalent in southern Ontario, Quebec and Thunder Bay. Police fear the worst – that these drugs will eventually be found in northern Ontario, including North Bay.

“Be very careful,” said Cliche.

“If you're going to use it, make sure you know the side effects and what you should be doing with it.”

According to the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit, so far this year in their catchment area, there have been 24 opioid-related overdoses - with two having died. Most of the overdoses in the region are a result of fentanyl.

The drug strategy committee is reminding people using to carry and be trained to use naloxone, ensure their drugs are safe before using, ensure their drugs are from a reliable source and not to use alone – always use with someone or at a supervised consumption site and do a small test dose first before using.

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