Bermuda: Police investigating discovery of laced heroin

Police have launched an investigation into the discovery of heroin suspected of being laced with the synthetic opioid fentanyl on the island after three people were treated at hospital for a possible overdose of the substance. 

Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid drug approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use as an analgesic (pain relief) and anaesthetic. It is approximately 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin as an analgesic. 

“The public is advised that fentanyl use, even in small doses, can result in serious adverse effects, which are compounded when combined with other drugs, particularly other opioids such as heroin,” the Bermuda Police Service (BPS) said in a statement. 

“Individuals who use this drug put themselves in very real danger, which can potentially occur very soon after only one instance of fentanyl use,’ it warned. 

The BPS said signs of overdose included small, constricted “pinpoint pupils”, falling asleep or losing consciousness, slow, weak or no breathing, and choking or gurgling sounds. Other indicators were a limp body, cold or clammy skin, or discoloured skin, especially in lips and nails. 

The police said that the side effects of fentanyl and dangers of its misuse can include hallucinations and visual disturbances, drowsiness and nausea, confusion, respiratory distress, and rigid muscles. Other consequences can be unconsciousness or sedation, seizures and overdose. 

In the statement, the BPS outlined steps to take if it is thought someone has used fentanyl or substances laced with the opioid, starting with an immediate call to 911. 

“Try to keep the person awake and breathing. Lay the person on their side to prevent choking. 

“Stay with the person until emergency assistance arrives,” it added. 

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