Reports of another fake OxyContin fatality in Canada

Fake OxyContin detailYet another death possibly linked to counterfeit OxyContin pills has been reported by police in Canada.

The latest case announced by Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) involves an as-yet unidentified man from North Battleford in Saskatchewan.

After attending the scene, investigators found pills that look like Purdue Pharma's well-known brand of oxycodone painkiller at first glance but are suspected of being counterfeit, although they have not yet determined whether they were the cause of death.

There have been several fatalities in Canada from fake OxyContin in the last few months, with the knock-off tablets often containing high levels of fentanyl, another powerful opioid analgesic. The local RCMP division in Battleford has issued a warning that hazardous tablets may be circulating in the area.

The branded version of OxyContin has not been produced in Canada since 2012 - when it was replaced with a formulation less prone to abuse - and any medication being sold under the name must be considered counterfeit, according to officials. They also warn that counterfeiters may be changing the shape and colour of the pills to evade detection.

Last month, fake OxyContin was linked to a fatality in another Saskatchewan city - Weyburn - and earlier this year there have also been deaths reported in Saskatoon and Moose Jaw.

Purdue replaced OxyContin with another version of oxycodone called OxyNEO which is formulated as a hydrogel that is designed to make it harder to crush or otherwise manipulate the tablets.

The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) issued a report in February in which it described an upswing in the number of fatal and non-fata overdoses caused by fentanyl, saying "anecdotal reports suggest most overdoses appear to be in individuals who thought they were using heroin, oxycodone, cocaine or another substance."

Fentanyl is considerably more toxic than other opioids and is extremely lethal: even small quantities can result in overdose, says the CCSA, which notes it is particularly deadly to opioid-naïve users - in other words people can die on their first use.

While fentanyl has traditionally entered the recreational drug supply chain in North America via diversion of prescription-grade material, there is evidence that more and more is being produced in clandestine factories.

The illicit production often results in analogues of the drug that are even more toxic than fentanyl itself, according to the CCSA.

Related articles:

     Want our news sent directly to your inbox?

Yes please 2


Home  |  About us  |  Contact us  |  Advertise  |  Links  |  Partners  |  Privacy Policy  |   |  RSS feed   |  back to top