A drug causing havoc and death in other parts of Canada appears to have made its way to St. Catharines.
Niagara Regional Police officers Monday seized a bag of powder believed to be carfentanil.
Carfentanil is 100 times more potent than fentanyl and is commonly used to tranquilize elephants.
The NRP’s street crime unit was searching for a suspect and found the drug when the officers arrested him at a hotel in St. Catharines.
Police sent a sample of the suspected carfentanil to Health Canada for confirmation.
The drug has been showing up across Canada, predominantly out West, but has been found recently in cities as close as Hamilton and Kitchener.
Even a few grains can be lethal.
In cities where the drug has been found, hospital officials have instructed staff to wear protective equipment — including a face shield, mask, double gloves and gown — when dealing with a suspected carfentanil overdose.
Hospital staff must remove the patient’s clothes and immediately double-bag them. They then have to wipe down the patient’s body using cold water to clean up any remaining drug residue, a technique typically used when dealing with highly infectious diseases.
What’s worse, typical naloxone kits that save lives in opioid overdoses aren’t enough when it comes to carfentanil.
Jeffrey Thompson, 34, of St. Catharines has been charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking, possession of a controlled substance and failure to comply with his recognizance.