The NDP today introduced a bill to help fight the fentanyl crisis by limiting the ownership and possession of pill presses.
“Manitobans are dying from fentanyl and carfentanil overdoses so it’s important that we do everything possible to stop the trafficking of these extremely dangerous drugs,” NDP Health Critic Matt Wiebe said today. “Pill presses are cheap and easy to obtain and dealers are using them to make pills laced with the deadly drugs.”
Carfentanil is a narcotic that is 10,000 times more powerful than morphine and 100 times stronger than fentanyl. Overdoses can occur when a dealer slips fentanyl or carfentanil into another street drug, such as heroin, cocaine or meth, as a cheap way to boost the intensity of the product and increase profits.
Purchasers of street drugs have no way of knowing what’s in them and it takes only a small amount of fentanyl or carfentanil to kill.
Fentanyl overdoses are reported in Manitoba almost every day and last year about 20 deaths were linked to fentanyl overdoses. That number is expected to double this year and at least eight deaths in the past month are suspected of being linked to fentanyl.
“While street drugs can be distributed in various forms, pills are the preferred method for many,” said Wiebe, who introduced the bill restricting possession of pill presses. “We urge the Pallister government to pass this bill to help reduce overdose deaths.”
The bill is an amendment to the Public Health Act and would permit only pharmacists and other authorized people identified by regulation to possess pill presses for legitimate uses.
Alberta has already passed similar legislation, which was introduced as a Conservative private member’s bill and passed unanimously. Another similar bill has been introduced in B.C. and is still before the House.