Fake Oxycontin pills containing fentanyl are displayed during a news conference at RCMP headquarters in Surrey on Sept. 3, 2015. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Fentanyl increasingly found in drugs in Downtown Eastside: study

News comes after it was announced fentanyl was linked to 81% of fatal overdoses in B.C. last year

Researchers say opioid users in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside are increasingly testing positive for the potent painkiller fentanyl, which was linked to the majority of fatal overdoses in B.C. last year.

Dr. William Honer, head of UBC’s psychiatry department, was part of a study that followed 237 people living in marginalized housing in the neighbourhood between March and July last year.

READ MORE: Province announces $1.5 million in funding to combat overdose epidemic

READ MORE: Fentanyl-linked overdose deaths soar in B.C.

At the beginning of the study, he says urine samples from 45 per cent of people who reported using opioids tested positive for fentanyl, but five months later that number jumped to 100 per cent.

The BC Coroners Service released statistics Wednesday showing fentanyl was linked to 81 per cent of the 1,422 fatal overdoses across the province last year.

Honer’s research included 103 people who were in opioid-replacement programs, where they were prescribed methadone, suboxone or prescription heroin.

He says over the five months of the study, half of those involved in the replacement programs submitted urine samples that tested positive for fentanyl.

He says the results show there is a need for more comprehensive treatment that addresses mental illness and physical ailments as well as addiction.

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Tardi earns first victory in quest for third national title

A Langley-based junior curling team is in Prince Albert, Sask. for the Canadian championships.

VIDEO: Giants wrap southern swing with 6-4 win in Spokane

The Langley-based hockey team defeated the Chiefs Friday night.

Charges upgraded against mother of murdered Langley girl

Kerryann Lewis now faces first- rather than second-degree murder in the death of Aaliyah Rosa.

LETTER: Langley/Surrey shortchanged on transit for Vancouver

Funding to get SkyTrain to Langley City could come from not undergrounding Vancouver’s extension.

LETTER: Area letter writer puts Trump government shutdown in perspective

A Maple Ridge letter writer is critical of Hillary Clinton’s comments about the shutdown.

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Most Read