Summerside police are looking for the source of fentanyl-laced street drugs that resulted in the death of a man by accidental overdose last week.
"It may prove to be tough in the end, but our investigators will be going back to people — friends and family of the deceased — to try and see if we can sort that out," said Sgt. Jason Blacquiere.
Police were called last Thursday morning to a Summerside residence where a man in his mid 40s had been found dead.
Police suspected it was a drug overdose. An autopsy was performed and late Friday afternoon, the coroner's office confirmed fentanyl was involved.
"Because of the presence of fentanyl, our major crime unit is working to try and locate the source of the drugs — where the victim may have gotten the drugs," said Blacquiere.
Summerside police said drugs seized at the residence will be sent for further testing.
Fentanyl is a powerful opioid, 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine. It's especially dangerous in street drugs, because people using the drugs often don't know that they're taking fentanyl — or how much is being taken.
Police and frontline health-care workers are once again warning people who use street drugs to be careful.
"Because of the risk of death and overdose, given how potent the drug is, we want the community to be aware that it is present and to use caution and take safety precautions if you're going to be using illicit drugs," said Blacquiere.
"We'd recommend having a naloxone kit on hand and someone also there with you that knows how to use the kit."
Naloxone can help prevent death
Naloxone is a short-term antidote to fentanyl. Sprayed up the nose, it can keep overdose victims alive until they reach hospital.
Naloxone is available in pharmacies on Prince Edward Island, and from the province's Needle Exchange Program, through mental health and addictions programs, and from some community groups.
Since April, 11 accidental opioid-related overdoses have been reported on P.E.I., according to the Department of Health and Wellness. Eight of them involved fentanyl, and at least two overdoses proved fatal.
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