RCMP and HSS warn of two toxic substances found in drug supply

"Those tainted drugs could be anywhere in the territory, so this warning is for the entire Northwest Territories,” says Inspector Dyson Smith.


(CKLB file photo).

The RCMP says the danger of using illegal drugs has increased after two toxic substances were found in a local supply.

RCMP seized what officers believed to be crack cocaine, powder cocaine and tablets on Nov. 27, and sent samples to the Health Canada Drug Analysis Service.

On Jan. 20, it received the results and shared them with the department of Health and Social Services. The analysis showed the drugs contained Adinazolam (a tranquilizer controlled under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act) and 5-MeO-DBT (not controlled).

The analysis determined the Adinazolam  is in “a new form … that individuals may be unaware they are consuming” and the other substance is “so novel that limited information is available on its safety.”

CKLB has asked both the RCMP and department of Health and Social Services (HSS) why it took nearly a week to inform the public these substances were found.

“While the letter is dated January 20, 2021, it still needed to reach the appropriate employee(s) to be assessed and further distributed… We worked as quickly as possible to have this information available to the public as we recognize the potential situations that could arise, hence the warning,” wrote Marie York-Condon, RCMP spokesperson, in an email. “We also reached out to our partners at Health and Social Services so they could provide additional information on the health aspects and worked to include that appropriately.  The information was released to the public as soon as the appropriate units were made aware and the release could be drafted and sent.”

Damien Healy, HSS spokesperson, wrote, “Upon receipt of the report we need to determine what these drugs are and what our guidance is. Note we have a very small team and doing our best.”

“Given the distribution systems of the illegal drug trade, those tainted drugs could be anywhere in the territory, so this warning is for the entire Northwest Territories,” says Inspector Dyson Smith, officer in charge of the Yellowknife detachment.

“These two drugs are a concern for unexpected reactions, and the concern for other contaminants like opioids is always present.  People who use street or illicit drugs should always do so with others present and have a plan to respond to an overdose. The plan should include having naloxone present and calling 911 for help with any overdose” says Dr. Andy Delli Pizzi, deputy chief public health officer.

Here is more information on overdose prevention.


Updated Jan. 27, 1 p.m. with a response from RCMP.

About the Author

Francis Tessier-Burns
Francis has been a general news reporter with CKLB since January 2019. Originally from rural Ontario, he first came to the NWT in 2016 as an intern with Up Here magazine and fell in love with the North. In his time with CKLB, he's had the immense pleasure and honour of learning about northern Indigenous cultures. Otherwise, you can find him hanging around the Legislative Assembly. If you have a story or want to chat, reach out to francis@cklbradio.com