Residents warned after carfentanil found in St. Albert for the first time

RCMP in St. Albert are warning residents that the deadly opioid carfentanil is in the community after laboratory tests confirmed the drug in 10 green pills seized in December during an investigation.

Health Canada confirmed the 10 pills which were made to look like Oxy 80 prescription tablets contained carfentanil, Const. Beth McIntosh said Friday.

Investigators originally believed the pills contained fentanyl, but on Thursday, lab results revealed they contained carfentanil, a much more potent opioid.

It's the first time RCMP has come across carfentanil in the community just north of Edmonton, McIntosh said.

RCMP issued a news release specifically to warn St. Albert residents that "carfentanil has made it into our community," she said.

"The hazards and the extreme seriousness of this drug is something that we wanted to ensure that the community [was] aware of," she said. "This drug in itself is 100 times stronger than fentanyl which itself is 100 times more powerful than morphine."

A few granules of carfentanil would be enough for a lethal overdose, McIntosh said. RCMP say a dose of 20 micrograms of carfentanil would be fatal to a person. A microgram is one millionth of a gram.

Another hazard is that drug users run the risk of taking it unknowingly.

"You may be thinking that you're taking fentanyl when in fact you're taking carfentanil, which could have very serious, if not a lethal, outcome."

The tablets were seized from a St. Albert home in early December.

Police also seized cocaine, psilocybin, hash oil, hash, marijuana and MDMA. They also seized $800 in cash, weigh scales and packaging materials used in drug sales.

Four adults were arrested and charged with drug-related offences. A child was found in the home, RCMP said in a Dec. 14 news release.