OTTAWA — Police and public health officials in Ottawa are warning residents about counterfeit prescription medication that they suspect is linked to recent life-threatening overdoses in the city.
They say counterfeit pills can be manufactured to look almost identical to prescription opioids like Percocet, and warn that illicit fentanyl has been detected in certain fake pills.
Fentanyl – a drug prescribed for chronic pain management – is roughly 100 times more potent than morphine and about 40 times stronger than heroin.
It produces a drug high but also depresses the body’s rate of respiration, which can cause breathing to stop — a dose of just two milligrams of pure fentanyl can be lethal.
Police have said many people are ingesting it unknowingly as the drug, which cannot be seen, smelled or tasted, is difficult to detect when laced into other drugs.
Ottawa officials are warning residents against obtaining drugs from non-medical sources — like friends, online vendors or drug dealers.
They say drugs should only be bought from a local pharmacy or medical professional.
Other police forces in the country have issued similar warnings about counterfeit medication.
The Canadian Press