Drug samples linked to possible Esgenoôpetitj overdoses sent for 'urgent' analysis

Drug samples linked to possible Esgenoôpetitj overdoses sent for 'urgent' analysis

RCMP have asked Health Canada's toxicology lab for an "urgent" analysis of of a drug taken by a First Nations woman who died of an apparent overdose on a New Brunswick reserve this week.  

Ann Marie Lambert of Esgenoôpetitj First Nation was one of four people who suffered a suspected overdose earlier in the week. Three survived, but Lambert died Tuesday night and police say her autopsy was completed Thursday evening.

"We do believe it to be an overdose of some sort," said Cpl. Maxime Babineau of the Neguac RCMP, who said it normally takes eight to 10 weeks to get results back from toxicology testing. "We requested that it be urgent, so basically it's a waiting game right now." 

The possibility that the drug responsible for the deaths is fentanyl has police and the community on edge. 

"People are saying fentanyl, but we can't confirm anything yet. We want to very very cautious about what we say," said Babineau. "So far we are dealing with [an] unknown drug...if it is confirmed to be fentanyl, people have to know." 

Possible arrest

Chief Alvery Paul of Esgenoôpetitj First Nation said that a suspect was taken into custody late Friday afternoon in connection with the distribution of the drugs.

Paul said RCMP arrested the man and took him to hospital after the man contacted Paul by phone.

Calls to police to confirm the arrest were not immediately returned to CBC News.