Fentanyl found in London street drugs (image)

A packed pipe of weed sits on a glass table, September 24, 2014.

The opioid crisis is spreading from the west coast to the east coast, and potentially into the average student's joint.

The Middlesex-London Health Unit issued a warning to London residents this week about traces of laced fentanyl in recreational drugs in the region.

According to the press release, Addiction Services Thames Valley conducted a urine drug screening earlier this week. Traces of fentanyl were found in individuals who only reported using heroin and marijuana.

Chris Mackie, the Middlesex-London Health Unit’s medical officer of health and CEO, worries that some students may unknowingly take recreational drugs that contain fentanyl. He added that the combination of drugs substantially increases risk of overdose. 

“Fentanyl is a thousand times more powerful than morphine,” Mackie said. “All you need is less than a fingernail, and you can have a fatal overdose.”

Since fentanyl is relatively cheap to produce, members of organized crime mix it with more expensive recreational drugs.

The Middlesex-London Health Unit announced that free naloxone kits — a drug that can temporarily reverse an opioid overdose — are available to pick up in pharmacies and community organizations across the London region. The health unit recommends that anyone using recreational drugs keeps a naloxone kit nearby and have someone with them who can use the kit if need be.

Naloxone is only a temporary antidote and patients who have overdosed must go to the hospital for treatment and monitoring. 

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Grace is a news editor for volume 111 at the Gazette. She is a fourth-year neuroscience student minoring in French studies. If you want to reach Grace, email her at grace@westerngazette.ca

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