Carfentanil confirmed in Nanaimo, B.C.

Nanaimo, BC – Laboratory results received this week by the Nanaimo RCMP confirmed that the highly potent and deadly carfentanil has made its way to Nanaimo.

As part of an ongoing investigation, an unknown white powder was seized by investigators, during the execution of a search warrant. A sample of this powder was forwarded for analysis to Health Canada, the results of that analysis now confirm the presence of the lethal opioid carfentanil.

Carfentanil is listed under Schedule 1 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) and is an analogue version of the synthetic opioid analgesic fentanyl, however it is approximately 100 times stronger than fentanyl (which is itself approximately 100 times more powerful than morphine). It is extremely harmful and even the tiniest of particles could prove lethal.

An amount as small as grain of sand could be fatal, said Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

Island Health urges anyone who uses illegal drugs to practice harm reduction measures.

“Carfentanil is an extremely toxic and lethal drug and there is currently no way for people to know whether it is contained in illegal drugs,” said Dr. Charmaine Enns, Medical Health Officer. “Now that we know carfentanil is on Vancouver Island, I can’t emphasize enough the importance for anyone who uses illegal drugs to ensure they are reducing risk of overdose by following harm reduction measures. For anyone who may be considering experimenting with illegal drugs, this is certainly not the time to do that, given this confirmation of the presence of lethal carfentanil.”

The following harm reduction strategies can reduce the risk:

  • Avoid using alone; fix with a sober friend
  • Try a small amount of new drugs first
  • Stagger use with friends so someone can respond if needed
  • Avoid using more than one drug at a time (stacking drugs increases risk of overdoses and contributes to more severe overdoses)
  • Carry and use naloxone and have an overdose response plan
  • Be close to help
  • Use an Overdose Prevention Service

The RCMP continue to work with our partners to monitor, detect and test for the presence of toxic and/or lethal substances entering the illicit drug market, in an effort to intercept and remove them before they hit the streets.

Information on overdose prevention and a listing of overdose prevention sites on Vancouver Island can be found on the Island Health website at

Police File # 2016-38674

Nanaimo RCMP


Changes to Facebook means fewer people now see our posts. Please help spread the word by "sharing" our reports on your social media accounts.