Manitoba First Nation warns of drugs in community being cut with dangerous, possibly deadly ingredients

A Manitoba First Nation is warning that drugs being sold in the community are being cut with dangerous and possibly deadly ingredients, and pleading with residents to avoid illicit drugs, because of what the consequences of taking them could be.

“These contaminants pose a significant risk to your health and safety,” Sioux Valley Dakota Nation (SVDN) chief and band council said in an “urgent” health advisory released Sunday on the community’s website.

Community officials say multiple dangerous contaminants have been found recently in illicit drugs in SVDN, a community west of Brandon that is home to more than 1,000 on-reserve residents.

Substances now circulating in the community that drug users might be taking unknowingly, according to SVDN, include amphetamines, methamphetamine, cocaine, MDMA (ecstasy), and fentanyl.

They added they are particularly worried about any fentanyl that might be present, because of how dangerous that substance can be, and how quickly and suddenly it can lead to overdose and death situations.

“Fentanyl, in particular, has been associated with numerous fatalities due to its potency,” the notice says. “An extremely potent opioid that is frequently mixed with other drugs without the user’s knowledge, even a tiny amount can be fatal, leading to a high risk of overdose.”

Council says they are also concerned about the presence of both amphetamines and methamphetamine, because those drugs are highly addictive, and can lead to severe short-term and long-term psychological issues in users.

“These stimulants can cause severe psychological and physical dependence,” SVDN said. “Contaminants may include unknown chemicals that can lead to unpredictable and dangerous reactions.”

The notice also warns that heroin is often mixed with other substances to increase volume, which can lead to overdose and severe health complications, and heroin cutting agents can be harmful and toxic, while ecstasy often contains adulterants, which can significantly increase the risk of hyperthermia, dehydration, and serotonin syndrome, and could lead to overdose.

SVDN is now pleading with all residents to avoid using any drugs that are being sold illegally, or have been brought into the community.

“Contaminated drugs significantly increase the risk of overdose. Unpredictable reactions from mixed substances can cause immediate and long-term health problems, including heart attack, stroke, and severe mental health issues,” SVDN said.

“The safest option is to avoid using illicit drugs altogether. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use, please reach out to local health services for support and treatment options.”

The Winnipeg Sun reached out to SVDN Chief Vince Tacan on Monday for comment, but did not receive a response.

— Dave Baxter is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Dave Baxter, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun