NWT issues new carfentanil warning for Hay River


The highly toxic opioid carfentanil is again circulating in Hay River, the NWT’s chief public health officer said on Tuesday.

The warning is the second Dr Kami Kandola has issued for the town this year, following an advisory in June in which Dr Kandola said detection of carfentanil was “very concerning for all communities.”

The NWT government says studies have shown carfentanil is “10,000 times more toxic than morphine, 4,000 times more toxic than heroin, and 100 times more toxic than fentanyl.”

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If you suspect an overdose, call an ambulance or your local health centre, the territory stated. The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act protects you if you call to report an overdose while in possession of drugs.

Naloxone opioid reversal kits are available at all hospitals, health centres, and pharmacies in the NWT. Carfentanil overdoses may require more than one naloxone dose.

Hay River community leaders have repeatedly expressed concern this year about the effect of drugs on the town and its residents.

In March, deputy mayor Keith Dohey said Hay River was “in the midst of a crisis,” adding he was aware of six people who had lost their lives “due to drugs in one way or another” in the past year.

“We’ve got people in the community that are profiting from death and they are dealing in the destruction of lives, and families, and our community. A lot of people are really reeling from it and don’t know where to turn,” Dohey said at the time.

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In October, former Hay River MLA Wally Schumann said in a letter: “Our friends, neighbours and family members who just can’t cope often turn to prescription, legalized or illegal drugs to dull and distract the torment. Opiate addiction and deaths by fentanyl are serious issues in many Canadian communities and are increasingly causing hospitalization and deaths.

“There are too many examples in the last year in our community of Hay River alone. We are losing our youth and our future.”