Skip to content

Dangerous ‘brown crack’ cocaine discovered in Hay River

Dangerous “brown crack” cocaine has been discovered in Hay River. Brown crack refers to cocaine mixed with multiple other harmful substances. NNSL file photo

The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer is warning residents of Hay River that contaminated “brown crack” cocaine has been discovered in the community.

Brown crack refers to cocaine mixed with multiple other substances, including fentanyl, fentanyl analogues (norfentanyl), methamphetamine and benzodiazepine.

While the presence of substances like benzodiazepine and fentanyl in other drugs has been an ongoing issue in the Hay River, the addition of methamphetamine is a new issue, according to a June 5 news release from chief public health officer (CPHO). There have been “anecdotal” reports of methamphetamines, such as crystal meth, being used more frequently in the community, but this marks the first time it has been verified through toxicology that crack cocaine is being mixed with methamphetamine.

“Individuals consuming illicit drugs need to be aware that their supply may be contaminated with synthetic stimulants (uppers) such as methamphetamine, opioids such as fentanyl and carfentanil and benzodiazepines (downers), such as alprazolam (a medication used for anxiety and/or panic disorders),” the news release explained.

These additives may cause the effects of the drug to last longer and be more potent, and can also diminish the effectiveness of naloxone, a life-saving medication that is used to counter the effects of opioid overdose.

“Although naloxone will not stop effects of a benzodiazepine overdose, it should be used if a person is showing signs of overdose as it may reverse effects when opioids are also consumed,” the release stated. “Note, you may need to use several doses of naloxone if opioids and benzodiazepines are mixed.”

In Hay River, naloxone kits can be acquired at public health, the regional health centre, community counselling services, Hay River Liquor Retailer, Super A Grocery Store, the recreation centre, the public library, the soup kitchen, Ring’s Pharmacy, Hay River Youth Group, the warming shelter, The Rooster, and It’s 4:20 Somewhere. On the Hay River Reserve, kits are available at the Judith Fabian Elders Centre.

The CPHO noted that the June 5 news release was “issued for precautionary reasons only,” as “there have been no additional deaths associated with illicit drug contamination reported in the NWT.”

If you suspect you or someone else is having an overdose, call 911 or your local health centre immediately. The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act protects people involved in an overdose from being charged for possession of a controlled substance.

About the Author: Tom Taylor

Read more