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New synthetic opioid discovered in Durham Region: police

Durham Regional Police forensics vehicle is shown in this undated photo. DRPS

Durham regional police say for the first time a powerful new synthetic opioid has been found in Ajax following a probe into an alleged impaired driving accident.

On June 16, police were called to a plaza near Westney and Kingston roads after a 36-year-old man reportedly drove into the back of a parked car.

Police allege he showed obvious signs of impairment at the time. He was taken to hospital and later charged with impaired driving.

“Officers arrived and discovered what appeared to be a small baggie of purple heroin in the vehicle, which was sent off to the lab for testing,” police said in a release.

“This later came back as a mixture of fentanyl and isotonitazene, a synthetic opioid not yet seen by the DRPS Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) on the streets of Durham Region.”

Police say isotonitazene is as dangerous as fentanyl and 100 times more powerful than morphine.

“It is a prohibited substance in Canada and has been found mixed with other drugs in several overdose deaths in North America. Like fentanyl, a small amount can trigger a near-instant overdose,” police said.

To learn more about opioid addiction and how to protect yourself from overdosing, please visit the Durham Health Department website here.