VERNON, B.C. — A powerful and potentially deadly opioid has been confirmed in British Columbia's central and southern Interior.
Interior Health's chief medical health officer, Dr. Trevor Corneil, says carfentanil, a substance considered 100 times more powerful than fentanyl, has been identified in the Kootenay region and in the Thompson Cariboo Shuswap.
He says carfentanil, which is used to tranquilize large animals, was found in oxycodone tablets and also in a urine test.
Health officials confirmed last month that the drug had been found in a small number of urine tests conducted across Metro Vancouver.
Tests are being carried out as part of surveillance measures related to a public health emergency declared in B.C. last April.
The coroner's service says there were 922 illicit drug overdoses last year in B.C., the highest number on record.
Corneil says it's not a surprise that carfentanil has reached the Interior, but because just one or two grains can be fatal to humans it's a major concern.
Interior Health urges people not to use illicit drugs alone or mix different substances. (CKIZ, CHNL)
The Canadian Press