Public Health Alert - FENTANYL
The Chief Public Health Officer is alerting Islanders of the presence of a highly potent opioid, fentanyl, in the province of Prince Edward Island.
Fentanyl is a powerful opioid that is 50-100 times stronger than morphine and has caused accidental overdoses and death in individuals who consume street drugs. The Department of Justice and Public Safety is working with police to reduce illegal drugs in the province.
“We want Islanders to understand the serious risks they are taking when they choose to use street drugs,” said Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison. “We are asking anyone who is going to consume street drugs – not only opioids, but any drug in pill or powdered form – to take steps to reduce the risks, including carrying naloxone and informing others who may use drugs that naloxone is available.”
Naloxone is a life-saving medication that can temporarily reverse an opioid overdose situation.
What should you do if you suspect an overdose?
- Call 911 right away if you suspect an overdose. The sooner you call the better the chance of recovery.
- An overdose might look different from one person to the next. But there are a few things you can look for if you suspect someone may have overdosed on an opioid like fentanyl. This includes slow, shallow breathing or no breathing and severe sleepiness or the person is not responsive.
- The Canadian Good Samaritan law protects people from being charged for simple drug possession. Call 911 to save the life of someone who overdoses.
- Call 911 even if naloxone is used because it may not be enough to counteract the drugs in your system; it only lasts for 20 minutes, and it may result in the person going into withdrawal, which is better managed by professionals.
Is there help for someone who wants to quit?
Many resources are still available to Islanders suffering with addiction. If you need assistance, call 1-888-299-8399 (toll-free), speak with your health-care provider, or connect with a counsellor at the Addiction Services Call-In Clinic.
Where can I get more information?
The Departments of Health & Wellness, Justice and Public Safety, Health PEI, Island EMS and local Police Services are actively monitoring the situation and working closely together on the Prince Edward Island Action Plan for Preventing Opioid-Related Overdoses and Deaths.