This notice was on a Penticton doctor’s office as of Friday morning, indicating that fentanyl has been found to be mixed with marijuana. But health officials have roundly been critical of similar reports. Dustin Godfrey/Western News

B.C. doctor’s fentanyl-laced pot warning may be false alarm

Penticton sign gone viral on Facebook warns of fentanyl-pot mix; IH not aware of evidence of the mix

A sign warning of fentanyl in marijuana on a Penticton doctor’s office door caused a stir online, after an image of it was posted to Facebook, but Interior Health says it hasn’t heard of any cases of the alleged deadly mix.

Staff with the office of Dr. Jeff Harries, among other doctors, said Harries put the sign up in December, when the city was seeing considerable numbers of overdoses, and left the sign up with the overdose crisis continuing in B.C.

“Fentanyl is being put into everything, including marijuana joints, in Penticton,” the sign reads. “Penticton Regional Hospital has had opiate overdose patients in the last week who have only smoked a joint and they have become unconscious and stopped breathing.

“Do not use any substance to get high, nothing is safe. One joint or pill may be fine, the next one could kill you. And there is no way of telling which one will kill you. Please, please, tell your friends and parents.”

Related: Health officials battling damaging fentanyl myths

Related: IH struggles to reach middle-class users

The sign was posted to Adele Gagen’s Facebook page Thursday afternoon and, as of 5 p.m. Friday, shared over 5,900 times.

The sign in the Facebook post appears different from the sign in the office door Friday — the sign is now orange and seamless, while the sign in the post online is on partially crumpled, white paper.

But the message is the exact same: fentanyl is being found in cannabis, including patients admitted to the PRH emergency department.

“This sign was not posted at an Interior Health site, nor was it issued by IH,” IH chief medical health officer Dr. Trevor Corneil said in a statement.

“Testing for the presence of specific drugs like fentanyl is done by the B.C. Coroner’s office following an overdose death and by RCMP/police following drug seizures. We are not aware of any evidence to date supporting the presence of fentanyl in marijuana.”

Related: Council extinguishes medical marijuana dispensaries

Related: Naloxone kits now available at Central Okanagan schools

What’s more, the B.C. CDC and the RCMP have both said in the past that there’s no evidence that cannabis has been tainted with fentanyl.

In an interview with the Western News in July, the B.C. CDC’s Marcus Lem named fentanyl-laced marijuana among its top fentanyl-related myths.

“Consequently, although at B.C. CDC and other public health organizations we’re doing our best to try and change that, in the absence of that, often the vacuum is filled with misinformation,” Lem said at the time.

IH did offer some tips, however, for avoiding or mitigating an opioid overdose:

  • Don’t mix different drugs (including pharmaceutical medications, street drugs and alcohol)
  • Don’t take drugs when you are alone. Leave door unlocked. Tell someone to check on you.
  • Use less and pace yourself. Do testers to check strength – take a small sample of a drug before taking your usual dosage.
  • Keep an eye out for your friends — stay together and look out for each other.
  • Carry a naloxone kit and know how to use it. A list of locations to get a kit can be found on the Interior Health website.
  • Recognize the signs of an OD: slow or no breathing, gurgling or gasping, lips/fingertips turning blue, difficult to rouse (awaken), non-responsive.
  • If someone thinks they may be having an overdose or is witnessing an overdose, follow the SAVE ME steps and call 911 immediately; do not delay.

An attempt to reach Harries for comment was unsuccessful Friday.

Related: VIDEO: How to survive a drug overdose

Related: IH chair: The drugs are here, we need intelligent approach


@dustinrgodfrey

dustin.godfrey@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Mercury rises in the Okanagan-Shuswap

Temperatures reach about 36 C with humidex in the Okanagan and Shuswap

Revelstoke Columbia River Treaty meeting brings local concerns to the forefront

The government of British Columbia hosted a community meeting surrounding the Columbia… Continue reading

Marijuana to be legal in Canada Oct. 17: Trudeau

Prime Minister made the announcement during question period in the House of Commons

Human caused fire knocked down in Mt. Revelstoke National Park

A fire broke out on the lower slopes of Mount Revelstoke yesterday… Continue reading

Life-long Revelstokian celebrates 106th birthday

Kay Martin celebrated her 106th birthday on June 20. Martin is a… Continue reading

VIDEO: Vernon-area students read for rank

RCMP visited JW Inglis on Wednesday as part of the Read with Me and the RCMP program.

New Jersey forward Taylor Hall wins Hart Trophy as NHL MVP

Vancouver’s Sedin brothers share King Clancy Award for humanitarian efforts

Unfiltered: IPAs explained with Cannery Brewing brewmaster

Checking out the new IPA created by Penticton brewery Cannery Brewing Company

Man gets 2 years in prison for assault on Okanagan Correctional officer

Union rep said inmate sucker punched correctional officer, continued assault after officer fell

50 new fires sparked in B.C. after lightning strikes across province

Similar conditions seen at the beginning of 2017 wildfire season

B.C. woman graduates high school at age 92

Nanaimo’s Joan Deebank the oldest high school graduate ever in B.C., as far as ministry can confirm

B.C. Appeal Court rules lottery winner must be paid back $600,000 loan

Enone Rosas won $4.1 million in a lottery in 2007 and loaned a portion to a friend

B.C. man surprised after used needle falls from sky

A Vernon resident said a syringe fell out of the sky and landed at his feet

Liquor review finds issues with B.C. wholesale monopoly

Report calls for ‘conflict of interest’ in system to be fixed

Most Read