Brown crack in Hay River a danger for users, says CPHO

Crack cocaine ready for street sale. (Photo courtesy of DEA.)

Hay River’s ongoing illegal drug problem has prompted another public health advisory, as potentially lethal mixtures including with methamphetamine are now being detected.

Brown crack cocaine mixed with multiple other substances including fentanyl, norfentanyl, methamphetamine and benzodiazepine found in the town prompted today’s health advisory.

Hay River has detected benzodiazepine and fentanyl in other drugs, but the addition of methamphetamine is something new.

Anecdotally Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola has received information that methamphetamines such as crystal meth has been gaining use in Hay River.

“This would be the first time that we can confirm through toxicology that crack cocaine is being mixed with methamphetamines,” stated Kandola.

Crack contaminated with synthetic stimulants, opioids, and downers may cause the effects of the drug to last longer or be more potent, and naloxone will not be as effective.

Although naloxone will not stop effects of a benzodiazepine overdose, it should be used if person is showing signs of overdose as it may reverse effects when opioids are also consumed.

If you suspect an overdose, call 911 or your local health centre. The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act protects people involved in an overdose from being charged for possession of a controlled substance.

While there have been overdose deaths in the NWT over the past year, there have been no additional deaths associated with illicit drug contamination and this advisory is precautionary.