Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut September 16, 2016 - 1:00 pm

Nunavut police make arrest in stolen fentanyl case

Powerful, addictive painkiller taken from Kugluktuk health centre earlier this week

SARAH ROGERS
Fentanyl comes in many forms, including vials of injectable liquid. Fentanyl is also available as blue or green pills, patches or as lollipops and lozenges. (WIKIMEDIA COMMONS IMAGE)
Fentanyl comes in many forms, including vials of injectable liquid. Fentanyl is also available as blue or green pills, patches or as lollipops and lozenges. (WIKIMEDIA COMMONS IMAGE)
Police are continuing to investigated a break-in at Kugluktuk’s health centre in which thieves made off with four vials of fentanyl, a prescription opioid painkiller. (FILE PHOTO)
Police are continuing to investigated a break-in at Kugluktuk’s health centre in which thieves made off with four vials of fentanyl, a prescription opioid painkiller. (FILE PHOTO)

(Updated, 7 p.m., Sept. 16)

Nunavut police had warned residents in Kugluktuk to watch out for non-prescribed fentanyl circulating in the western Nunavut community Sept. 15, after a theft at the local health centre.

But members of the Kugluktuk RCMP arrested a person in relation to that theft and seized the stolen items including the fentanyl—within 24 hours, thanks to the assistance of the public, the RCMP said in a release sent out late Sept. 16.

The arrested person, now in custody, faces charges of possession and possession with intent to traffic, police said.

The release said police will continue to investigate the break-in at Kugluktuk’s health centre, in which four vials of fentanyl, a prescription opioid painkiller that carries a high risk of overdose, was stolen.

“The culprits may not be aware that the vials contain fentanyl,” Nunavut’s health department said Sept. 16, before police arrested the suspect. “And, if consumed the outcome, could be deadly.”

Fentanyl, a narcotic analgesic and sedative sometimes compared to heroin, has made headlines in Canada in recent months for a growing number of fentanyl-related overdoses and deaths.

Fentanyl, often used by cancer patients to treat pain, is considered 100 times more potent than morphine, and enters the system much faster.

“A lethal dose of pure fentanyl for a typical adult can be as little as two milligrams, or the size of a few grains of table salt,” the RCMP said.

Health officials in Nunavut had warned residents of Kugluktuk to keep an eye out for the symptoms of a fentanyl overdose, which include: severe sleepiness, a slow heartbeat, shallow breathing, trouble walking or talking and cold, clammy skin.

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