Quebec City officials send out alert about synthetic opioid that can be 25 times more powerful than fentanyl

QUEBEC CITY – Public health officials in Quebec City are sending out an alert about an extremely deadly new drug showing up in the area. Protonitazepyne is a synthetic opioid that can be 25 times stronger than fentanyl. According to CBC News, the illicit drug is being laced into green tablets that look like OxyContin.

“This drug is super dangerous,” Dr. Anne-Frédérique Lambert-Slythe told CBC News. “If people consume this drug, there is a very high risk of overdose.”

Protonitazene is also a threat in the United States, with the first toxicology samples reported in May 2021. Just last month a South Florida man also pled guilty to participating in a conspiracy to distribute protonitazene from China.

Fentanyl test strips will not detect protonitazepyne, but naloxone could reverse an overdose if administered quickly. Health officials encourage the public to be aware of the signs of an opioid overdose.

“People become more and more drowsy, their breathing decreases to the point of respiratory arrest, so people lose consciousness and can turn blue,” Lambert-Slythe told CBC News.

Other symptoms could include a dry mouth, small pupils and a discolored tongue.