Dangerous narcotics stolen from Winnipeg ambulance partially recovered

Dangerous narcotics stolen from Winnipeg ambulance partially recovered

Winnipeg police say they have partially recovered vials of narcotics stolen from an ambulance in late November.

Police said an ambulance parked at Winnipeg's St. Boniface Hospital was broken into and six vials of narcotics were stolen on Nov. 27 at about 3 a.m.

There were four vials of fentanyl and two of midazolam, said Const. Jay Murray.

Two men, 36 and 44, were arrested and two vials of fentanyl, believed to be the ones stolen from the ambulance, were found.

Fentanyl is a potent painkiller, 100 times more powerful than morphine. Paramedics carry it to treat pain caused by fractures, cardiac pain and other emergencies.

Used improperly, it is extremely dangerous and has been blamed for numerous overdose deaths around the country. It is one of the drivers of the ongoing opioid crisis.

Midazolam is a sedative used as an anesthetic for procedures such as intubation and to control seizures. It induces sleepiness and has been used as a date rape drug because it's soluble, odourless, tasteless and colourless. It also causes short-term memory loss.

Paramedics usually wear the drugs in their duty belts, and it's standard procedure to lock ambulances when paramedics take a stretcher into a hospital, Ryan Sneath, assistant chief of paramedic operations, told media in November.

Sneath did not know how the medications were stored when they were stolen. The fire-paramedic service is conducting an internal investigation, he said.

Anyone with information on the remaining vials that may assist investigators is asked to call 204-986-6219 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-TIPS (8477).