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Drug alert and over­dose alerts

DRUG AND OVER­DOSE ALERTS WIN­NIPEG: Jan­u­ary 202023

Cas­es of severe over­dose pre­sent­ing to hos­pi­tal (HSC) report­ing using meth — week of Jan.16, 2023

Reports indi­cate the sub­stance was sold as meth” and brought about sud­den loss of con­scious­ness and quick, severe prob­lems breath­ing. No infor­ma­tion is cur­rent­ly avail­able con­firm­ing the com­po­nents of the sub­stances involved. Peo­ple were respon­sive to naloxone.

If you use drugs:

Call 911 (or your local emer­gency response num­ber) if you wit­ness or expe­ri­ence an over­dose. The Good Samar­i­tan Over­dose Pro­tec­tion Act will pro­tect those involved from drug pos­ses­sion charges or breach of probation/​pretrial release charges.

Get nalox­one and over­dose train­ing before using – bring a friend

• Be aware that ben­zo­di­azepines don’t respond to nalox­one.

Do not use drugs alone or behind a locked door. Have a des­ig­nat­ed respon­der: Stag­ger use with friends so some­one can respond/​call 911 if needed.

If you are using alone con­sid­er call­ing the Nation­al Over­dose Pre­ven­tion Hot­line at 18886886677, where you will be con­nect­ed to a safe con­sump­tion vol­un­teer who stays on the line for 15 – 30 min­utes while you use the substance.

• Use a less direct route when you take drugs. Inject­ing a drug is the most direct and dan­ger­ous route.

• If you mix drugs, reduce the amount of each drug you take and use opi­oids before ben­zos or alco­hol. Use the most unpre­dictable drug first.

• Use one drug at a time, test your drugs every time by doing a small­er than usu­al test amount first.

• Wait before tak­ing anoth­er dose – some drugs take longer to take effect

• The amount of nalox­one in a take-home kit may not be enough to reverse very pow­er­ful over­dos­es, such as those caused by fen­tanyl-like drugs.

• If you inject do not share any injec­tion equip­ment (nee­dles, cook­ers, fil­ters, rinse). Ster­ile drug use sup­plies are avail­able from many places.

For com­mu­ni­ty agencies:

The Safer Bath­rooms Toolk­it pro­vides resources to assess and respond to the poten­tial risk of drug tox­i­c­i­ty events with­in facil­i­ty bathrooms.


DRUG AND OVER­DOSE ALERTS WIN­NIPEG: Decem­ber 192022

Street drugs test­ed for fen­tanyl and ben­zo­di­azepines in Winnipeg

A sam­ple of a sub­stance sold as unknown” that looked like a small orange peb­ble in Win­nipeg was test­ed by Get Your Drugs Test­ed ser­vices. This sam­ple was dat­ed on Decem­ber 7, 2022. It was test­ed by FTIR spec­trom­e­ter tech­nol­o­gy, which found to have a com­bi­na­tion of ery­thri­tol 65 – 70%, and fen­tanyl 30 – 35%. It was pos­i­tive for fen­tanyl and/​or fen­tanyl ana­logues on the fen­tanyl test strip. It was neg­a­tive for ben­zo­di­azepines on the ben­zo test strip. How­ev­er, it is sus­pect­ed that this sam­ple con­tains eti­zo­lam, a ben­zo drug class that does not trig­ger the ben­zo test strips.

Fen­tanyl is a very tox­ic opi­oid drug that can result in over­dose caus­ing res­pi­ra­to­ry depres­sion, uncon­scious­ness and death.

Eti­zo­lam is a thien­odi­azepine which is sim­i­lar to the ben­zo­di­azepine drug class. It has effects that depress the cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem, these include seda­tion and skele­tal mus­cu­lar relax­ation. Eti­zo­lam is strong at low dos­es.

Ben­zos caus­es res­pi­ra­to­ry depres­sion and seda­tion and may cause a per­son to lose con­scious­ness. Because it is not an opi­oid, nalox­one does not work on it.

This sam­ple con­tains more than the aver­age amount of fen­tanyl test­ed by this ser­vice in Van­cou­ver and in com­bi­na­tion with pos­si­ble eti­zo­lam, there is a high­er risk for a com­plex over­dose. If pos­si­ble, con­sid­er start­ing with a small tester dose, not using alone and car­ry­ing naloxone.

The com­bi­na­tion of these two sub­stances can increase harms.

DRUG AND OVER­DOSE ALERTS WIN­NIPEG: Octo­ber 252022

Com­mu­ni­ty agen­cies in cen­tral Win­nipeg report occur­rence of fatal drug tox­i­c­i­ty events Oct 21 and 22, 2022 and a spike in harms relat­ed to drug tox­i­c­i­ty over the same time frame.

Reports indi­cate the sub­stance was sold as meth” and brought about unex­pect­ed loss of con­scious­ness and quick, severe impair­ment of res­pi­ra­to­ry func­tion. No infor­ma­tion is cur­rent­ly avail­able con­firm­ing the com­po­nents of the sub­stances involved.

DRUG AND OVER­DOSE ALERTS WIN­NIPEG: Octo­ber 122022

Street drugs in Win­nipeg of con­cern and nov­el sub­stances: Para-Flu­o­ro­fen­tanyl and Isotonitazine.

A brown powder/​grainy substance seized in Win­nipeg in Sep­tem­ber 2022. Health Cana­da Drug Analy­sis Ser­vices has con­firmed the prod­uct to con­tain Para-Flu­o­ro­fen­tanyl, Fen­tanyl, a ben­zo­di­azepine named eti­zo­lam, caf­feine, and diphenhydramine

Coun­ter­feit Oxy­codone tablets: blue, round, PER­CO­CET 5” on one side, scored on reverse were seized in Win­nipeg in August 2022. Health Cana­da Drug Analy­sis Ser­vices has con­firmed the prod­uct to con­tain a ben­z­im­i­da­zole opi­oid, name­ly Isotonitazene. 

Iso­toni­tazene is a syn­thet­ic opi­oid drug, con­sid­ered to be approx­i­mate­ly 500 times more tox­ic than morphine. 

Fen­tanyl is a very tox­ic opi­oid drug (approx­i­mate­ly 50 – 100 times more tox­ic than mor­phine) that can result in over­dose caus­ing res­pi­ra­to­ry depres­sion, uncon­scious­ness and death.

Para-flu­o­ro­fen­tanyl is a syn­thet­ic opi­oid relat­ed to fen­tanyl. There is lit­tle infor­ma­tion avail­able on the strength of this drug relat­ed to fen­tanyl, but it has been asso­ci­at­ed with increased opi­oid tox­i­c­i­ty in North America. 

Ben­zo­di­azepine (ben­zos) caus­es res­pi­ra­to­ry depres­sion and seda­tion and may cause a per­son to lose con­scious­ness. Because it is not an opi­oid, nalox­one does not work on it. Ben­zo­di­azepines can be more dan­ger­ous when com­bined with opioids. 

Health Canada’s Drug Analy­sis Ser­vice (DAS) test ille­gal drugs seized by Cana­di­an law enforce­ment agen­cies. For more infor­ma­tion on drugs ana­lyzed by DAS, see Ana­lyzed Drug Report — Drug Analy­sis Ser­vice | Pub­lic Health Infobase — Pub­lic Health Agency of Canada

Octo­ber 62021

Street drugs test­ed for fen­tanyl and ben­zo­di­azepines in Winnipeg

A sam­ple of a sub­stances sold as unknown” that looked like a orange chunk in Win­nipeg was test­ed by Get Your Drug Test­ed ser­vices. This sam­ple, test­ed by FTIR spec­trom­e­ter tech­nol­o­gy, was found to have a com­bi­na­tion of Ery­thri­tol 75 – 80% (a sug­ar-based filler), Caf­feine 15 – 20%, Fen­tanyl 5 – 10% This sam­ple also test­ed pos­i­tive for Ben­zo­di­azepines by test strip. 

Fen­tanyl is a very tox­ic opi­oid drug that can result in over­dose caus­ing res­pi­ra­to­ry depres­sion, uncon­scious­ness and death.

Ben­zo­di­azepine (ben­zos) caus­es res­pi­ra­to­ry depres­sion and seda­tion and may cause a per­son to lose con­scious­ness. Because it is not an opi­oid, nalox­one does not work on it.

The com­bi­na­tion of these two sub­stances can increase harms.

Unkown Orange chunk

Octo­ber 62021

Street drugs test­ed for fen­tanyl and ben­zo­di­azepines in Winnipeg

A sam­ple of a sub­stances sold as unknown” that looked like green gran­ules in Win­nipeg was test­ed by Get Your Drug Test­ed ser­vices. This sam­ple, test­ed by FTIR spec­trom­e­ter tech­nol­o­gy, was found to have a com­bi­na­tion of Dimethyl Sul­fone 60 – 65% (a filler), uncer­tain oil 20 – 25%, Fen­tanyl 15 – 20%, an uncer­tain match like­ly to be a fen­tanyl ana­logue 5 – 10%. This sam­ple also test­ed pos­i­tive for Ben­zo­di­azepines by test strip. 

Fen­tanyl is a very tox­ic opi­oid drug that can result in over­dose caus­ing res­pi­ra­to­ry depres­sion, uncon­scious­ness and death.

Ben­zo­di­azepine (ben­zos) caus­es res­pi­ra­to­ry depres­sion and seda­tion and may cause a per­son to lose con­scious­ness. Because it is not an opi­oid, nalox­one does not work on it.

The com­bi­na­tion of these two sub­stances can increase harms.

Unknown Green Granules

August 17, 2022

Street drugs tested for fentanyl and novel non-opioid veterinary tranquilizer “Xylazine” in Winnipeg, Manitoba

A sample of a street drug that appeared as a powder and grainy substance was confiscated in Winnipeg Manitoba, and tested in July 2022 by Health Canada - Drug Analysis Service. The sample tested positive for fentanyl and Xylazine. This is the first report of Xylazine in this jurisdiction by Health Canada - Drug Analysis Service.

Health Canada's Drug Analysis Service (DAS) test illegal drugs seized by Canadian law enforcement agencies. For more information on drugs analyzed by DAS, see Analyzed Drug Report - Drug Analysis Service | Public Health Infobase - Public Health Agency of Canada

Fentanyl is a very toxic opioid drug that can result in overdose causing respiratory depression, unconsciousness and death.

Xylazine is a tranquilizer that can cause drowsiness and sedation, slow breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure to dangerously low level, and may cause the person to lose consciousness. Because it is not an opioid, naloxone does not work on it.

The combination of these two substances can increase harms.

August 8, 2022

Street drugs tested for fentanyl and novel benzodiazepine “Bromazolam” in Brandon and Winnipeg, Manitoba

A sample of a street drug that appeared as a beige powder was confiscated in Brandon Manitoba and tested by Health Canada - Drug Analysis Service. The sample tested positive for fentanyl and Bromazolam in June 2022. A sample of grainy substance from Winnipeg tested in July also contained Bromazolam. These are the first reports of Bromazolam in these jurisdictions by Health Canada - Drug Analysis Service.

Health Canada's Drug Analysis Service (DAS) test illegal drugs seized by Canadian law enforcement agencies. For more information on drugs tested by DAS, see Analyzed Drug Report - Drug Analysis Service | Public Health Infobase - Public Health Agency of Canada

Fentanyl is a very toxic opioid drug that can result in overdose causing respiratory depression, unconsciousness and death.

Bromazolam is a benzodiazepine (benzo) which causes respiratory depression and sedation and may cause a person to lose consciousness. Because it is not an opioid, naloxone does not work on it.

The combination of these two substances can increase harms.

April 28, 2022

Winnipeg - Main Street Project reports that three overdoses occurred on their premises on April 27th, 2022. One other community agency reports a spike in suspected overdose on the same date.

In all three situations at Main Street Project, staff located the community member and were able to reverse the suspected overdose with naloxone. No information is available about the specific substance used or description of same, however it is believed that all three situations resulted from an injected substance. In at least one instance, the overdose occurred after the community member injected a “hot shot”, whereby the substance was acquired pre-mixed in a syringe.

If you use drugs:

Call 911 (or your local emer­gency response num­ber) if you wit­ness or expe­ri­ence an over­dose. The Good Samar­i­tan Over­dose Pro­tec­tion Act will pro­tect those involved from drug pos­ses­sion charges or breach of pro­ba­tion/pre-tri­al release charges.

  • Get nalox­one and over­dose train­ing before using – bring a friend
  • Be aware that ben­zo­di­azepines don’t respond to naloxone.
  • Do not use drugs alone or behind a locked door. Have a des­ig­nat­ed respon­der: Stag­ger use with friends so some­one can respond/​call 911 if needed. 
  • If you are using alone con­sid­er call­ing the Nation­al Over­dose Pre­ven­tion Hot­line at 18886886677, where you will be con­nect­ed to a safe con­sump­tion vol­un­teer who stays on the line for 15 – 30 min­utes while you use the substance.
  • Use a less direct route when you take drugs. Inject­ing a drug is the most direct and dan­ger­ous route. 
  • If you mix drugs, reduce the amount of each drug you take and use opi­oids before ben­zos or alco­hol. Use the most unpre­dictable drug first.
  • Use one drug at a time, test your drugs every time by doing a small­er than usu­al test amount first.
  • Wait before tak­ing anoth­er dose – some drugs take longer to take effect
  • The amount of nalox­one in a take-home kit may not be enough to reverse very pow­er­ful over­dos­es, such as those caused by fen­tanyl-like drugs.
  • If you inject do not share any injec­tion equip­ment (nee­dles, cook­ers, fil­ters, rinse). Ster­ile drug use sup­plies are avail­able from many places.