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New ‘ultra potent’ opioids hitting Toronto streets in recent weeks as overdose deaths mount

From the Toronto Star article:

…The opioids were identified by the Centre on Drug Policy Evaluation (CDPE), a Toronto-based research agency that collects and tests small samples of street drugs collected from users and dealers. The ultra-potent opioids were primarily found in samples that were thought to be straight fentanyl.

An analysis of newly obtained data on opioid overdoses across the country — including numbers from provincial coroners, street drug tests in Ontario and B.C., and a previously unpublished national drug user survey — reveals a national crisis spiking into uncharted territory during the pandemic.

Toronto saw an 81 per cent jump in opioid-related deaths between 2019 and late 2020.

Border closures and drug supply chain disruptions are blamed by researchers for creating a cocktail of new drugs and compounds.

“Any time you disrupt drug trafficking routes, unexpected things will happen,” said Daniel Werb, the executive director of the CDPE and a research scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital. “That’s why you see increasingly potent opioids on the market because the higher the potency, the more efficient the package is, the easier it is to traffic.”

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