The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU), along with the Cornwall Community Police Service, have issued a press release warning about “illicit Fentanyl” in the area. The groups says Fentanyl has been seized by police in all the five counties in the EOHU area, which includes Prescott and Russell.

Fentanyl can be a prescription pain medication sold in patch or liquid form, but it can also be produced illegally. The EOHU says illegal Fentanyl can be found in pill form, sometimes disguised as OxyContin, or be added to other drugs like cocaine, heroin or crystal meth. The Ottawa police, for example, found Fentanyl in cocaine for the first time on October 13. The drug has been linked to deaths in Canada, especially in British Columbia, where a state of emergency was declared after 200 Fentanyl-related deaths in the first months of 2016.

In the press release, Daniel Parkinson, Chief of Police at the CCPS, said Fentanyl is dangerous because it’s so strong. “Even a small amount of illicit Fentanyl can be deadly, which explains why it has caused hundreds of deaths throughout the country,” he is quoted as saying. In the same press release, a statement from EOHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis says Fentanyl “slows down the part of the brain that controls breathing” and so an overdose can cause people to stop breathing.

The organizations advise people not to buy drugs off of the street, and to be aware of the drug’s presence.

For more information about Fentanyl, contact the EOHU at 613-933-1375 or at 1 800 267-7120 and ask for Health Line.