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Warning Issued About Deadly Street Drug

By Tamara Steele Dec 9, 2022 | 1:24 PM

Dr. Yves Léger (GNB/Zoom)

A warning from the acting chief medical officer of health about a dangerous drug linked to nine sudden deaths between July and November.

Bromazolam was detected in the blood samples from nine sudden death investigations.

Officials believe it’s the first time the drug has been used in New Brunswick.

Fentanyl was also detected in some of the sudden death investigations.

Testing can take months to complete, so there may still be a risk to drug users.

“The emergence of bromazolam in the street drug supply in New Brunswick is a major concern,” said Dr. Yves Léger. “What is especially concerning is that people do not know it is contained in their street drugs. There are no warning signs of bromazolam’s presence, as it cannot be detected by sight, smell or taste. There are no telltale signs.”

Dr. Léger said there is growing concern over combinations of benzodiazepines (benzos), such as bromazolam, with opioids, also known as benzo-dope.

He warned that taking benzos and opioids together increases the risk of overdose and death. Naloxone, which is commonly used to counteract the effects of opioids and prevent overdose, has no effect in combatting the adverse effects of benzos.

Staff from Public Health is contacting frontline organizations that work with people using street drugs about how they can lower their risk of overdose and death.

A news release issued on Friday had recommendations for people who are using street drugs:

  • Be aware that bromazolam is in the province and could be in street drugs without your knowledge. Avoid benzo-dope.
  • Do not use drugs alone. Leave your door unlocked and tell someone to check on you.
    Take advantage of an overdose prevention site if one is available in your community.
  • Do testers to check drug strength. Begin with a small amount, use less and pace yourself.
  • Have naloxone on hand; it will not help with bromazolam but could help with opioids such as fentanyl.
  • Talk with a health-care provider about reducing risk.





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