Fentanyl may be circulating in Prince Albert, police warn

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Police are warning residents in Prince Albert, Sask., that fentanyl may be circulating in the community, after officers seized a small amount of what they believe to be the potentially lethal drug within the last 48 hours.

"It's important that we alert the public, given the danger that this drug presents," said Insp. Brent McDonald during a Friday news conference, noting that police believe there have been no fentanyl overdoses related to the current investigation.

"It's concerning. We saw what happened earlier in the year.… Regina was dealing with a large amount of overdoses."

Police sent the "personal amount" of the substance they seized to a lab to confirm what it is. It could take months for results to come back unless expedited, said McDonald, but investigators are fairly certain that it is fentanyl.

Illicit fentanyl typically comes in a powder and can be laced with other drugs, such as heroin, methamphetamine or cocaine. It is odourless and incredibly powerful — a few grains of the drug can be fatal.

Investigators described the recent seizure as "pebbles," though, and McDonald said it looks like purple Nerds candy.

The Prince Albert Police Service has come across fentanyl in past drug investigations, but it's rare, said McDonald. In past investigations, other drugs were typically seized along with fentanyl.

McDonald could not give many further details because the investigation is ongoing, but he did say that investigators are trying to track down the source.

Front-line officers also carry a nasal spray they can use in overdoes emergencies, and they will wear personal protective equipment if handling the drug, McDonald said.

He also urged residents to get free naloxone kits if they feel it's necessary.