Pubdate: Sat, 05 Aug 2017
Source: Windsor Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 The Windsor Star
Author: Dale Carruthers
Page: A7


The London region's top public health official is recommending
marijuana users keep the anti-overdose medication naloxone handy.

That advice from Dr. Christopher Mackie comes after the
Middlesex-London Health Unit and London police issued a public warning
that fentanyl, a potentially deadly drug, could be showing up in other
street drugs, including pot.

"The more naloxone we have in our community, the safer the community
is going to be," Mackie, Middlesex-London's medical officer of health,
said Friday.

Thursday's joint warning from health officials and police comes after
recent urine tests from drug users, who self-reported taking only pot
or heroin, came back positive for fentanyl, an opioid up to 100 times
more powerful than morphine. The samples came from patients at the
Mental Health and Addictions Crisis Centre's suboxone clinic, said Dr.
Ken Lee of Addiction Services of Thames Valley.

Participants taking suboxone, a drug therapy for opioid addiction,
must get their daily dose in person and submit to a weekly drug test.

Patients may eventually be given take-home doses of suboxone after
showing they 're drug-free - an exception is made for marijuana - for
a period of time.

Critics of the warning that local pot could be laced with fentanyl say
drug users may be motivated to lie about the substances they've taken
in order to get the take-home doses. Lee acknowledged that patients
lying about their drug use is a possibility, but said there's nothing
to prove it.

"The people say that when they were smoking that particular marijuana
that they felt unusual, they felt sick afterwards," Lee said of the
patients whose urine showed traces of fentanyl.

"It's not an inaccurate test."

Reports of fentanyl-laced marijuana have popped up across North
America, especially in communities ravaged by opioid addiction.

But there appear to be no confirmed cases of the two drugs ever being
combined. London police have yet to seize any cannabis that's been
found to contain fentanyl, but testing takes several months, so the
latest results aren't yet available, said spokesperson Sandasha Bough.
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