Public Health Officials in British Columbia are warning communities about the discovery of a synthetic cannabinoid containing fentanyl. According to a statement, the drug, AMB-FUBINACA, can produce symptoms that appear "like an opioid overdose but will not respond to naloxone."
In Kamloops, the drug appears like "beige pebbles" and also contains caffeine and heroin.
According to an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the same "synthetic cannabinoid caused mass intoxication of 33 persons in one New York City neighborhood, in an event described in the popular press as a 'zombie' outbreak because of the appearance of the intoxicated persons."
TL;DR AMB-FUBINACA, which produces "zombie-like" symptoms, was discovered in the interior of British Columbia.
"The potency of the synthetic cannabinoid identified in these analyses is consistent with strong depressant effects that account for the 'zombielike' behavior reported in this mass intoxication."
"AMB-FUBINACA is an example of the emerging class of 'ultrapotent' synthetic cannabinoids and poses a public health concern," the article abstract reads.
According to the Alberta Health services, synthetic cannabinoids also appeared in Edmonton in 2017.
Interior Health advises that individuals who take AMB-FUBINACA ask a sober buddy to supervise them, take small amounts, and don't mix it with alcohol and other drugs.
Call 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency.
Potent drugs like these fuel the opioid crisis, which, according to the government of Canada, "can be linked to the rapid rise in rates of drug overdoses and death involving," in part, "increasingly toxic illegal drugs due to the increased presence of powerful illegal substances, such as fentanyl, a drug 50-100 times more potent than morphine."
For more information about AMB-FUBINACA in British Columbia, review the Interior Health warning here. For more information about the ongoing opioid crisis, review the government of Canada website here.