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Purple Heroin linked to local overdose

Purple heroin laced with fentanyl and other purple-coloured additives, has been reported in the Belleville and Quinte West areas and linked to at least one known overdose.

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health advises emergency medical response teams have also reported a recent increase in opioid overdose calls and as such public health is warning people who use drugs to be aware of the risks associated with using purple heroin or any illicit drug that may contain fentanyl.

Fentanyl is an opioid that can be 100 times stronger than morphine. Illicit fentanyl, when either used alone, or present in other street drugs such as heroin, cocaine, crystal meth and cannabis, or being sold as fake prescription drugs (i.e. Percocet or OxyContin), has a higher risk of causing a fatal overdose.

HPE Public Health states a small amount of the drug can be fatal, noting there are varying levels of toxicity depending which illicit fentanyl is taken and how much is present. People may not be aware that they are consuming fentanyl as it can be mixed into other drugs or disguised as other drugs.

Signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose:
• Won’t wake up easily or at all
• Breathing is very slow, erratic or not at all
• Fingernails and or lips turn blue
• Body is limp
• Deep snoring or gurgling
• Pin point pupils
• Vomiting

In an overdose situation get help immediately: Call 911. Give Naloxone (Narcan). An overdose is a medical emergency and further medical help is necessary.

Naloxone (Narcan) Nasal Spray kits are available at Hastings Prince Edward Public Health offices and at participating pharmacies. To find a location near you, visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/get-naloxone-kits-free. Those eligible for a kit include current and past opioid users (or those who use other illicit drugs that could be contaminated with fentanyl) as well as family and friends.

Filed Under: Local News

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