Fake Oxycontin pills containing fentanyl are displayed during a news conference at RCMP headquarters in Surrey on Sept. 3, 2015. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Fentanyl increasingly found in drugs in Downtown Eastside: study

News comes after it was announced fentanyl was linked to 81% of fatal overdoses in B.C. last year

Researchers say opioid users in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside are increasingly testing positive for the potent painkiller fentanyl, which was linked to the majority of fatal overdoses in B.C. last year.

Dr. William Honer, head of UBC’s psychiatry department, was part of a study that followed 237 people living in marginalized housing in the neighbourhood between March and July last year.

READ MORE: Province announces $1.5 million in funding to combat overdose epidemic

READ MORE: Fentanyl-linked overdose deaths soar in B.C.

At the beginning of the study, he says urine samples from 45 per cent of people who reported using opioids tested positive for fentanyl, but five months later that number jumped to 100 per cent.

The BC Coroners Service released statistics Wednesday showing fentanyl was linked to 81 per cent of the 1,422 fatal overdoses across the province last year.

Honer’s research included 103 people who were in opioid-replacement programs, where they were prescribed methadone, suboxone or prescription heroin.

He says over the five months of the study, half of those involved in the replacement programs submitted urine samples that tested positive for fentanyl.

He says the results show there is a need for more comprehensive treatment that addresses mental illness and physical ailments as well as addiction.

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Aldergrove car-jacking suspect arrested

Man had ordered 70-year-old pastor’s wife to get out of their truck

Judge rules against ALC on rural Langley subdivision

The ALC can’t change the definition of an acre, the judge ruled.

Crash blocks half of 200th Street in Langley City

Police and firefighters were on scene Thursday.

Langley knitters stickhandle poppy project to help legion

Some local women knitted poppies and donated the proceeds to Langley’s legion.

Friends describe murder victim as ‘most caring guy we knew’

Jagvir Malhi of Abbotsford was not involved in gangs or criminal activity, they say

VIDEO: People with diabetes meet their alert dogs

A diabetic alert dog is trained to detect low blood sugar in people who have Type 1 diabetes

Dead Saskatoon tattoo artist’s skin removed and preserved

The skin was removed in honour of the well known artist’s work

Metro Vancouver mayors cancel Surrey LRT in favour of SkyTrain

TransLink will immediately suspend work on light rail

Lower Mainland couple missing in Thompson-Okanagan area

Barriere RCMP received a missing persons report for two senior overdue travellers

Vancouver Warriors cancel first 2 weeks of season as labour dispute continues

The announcement means games scheduled for Dec. 1 and Dec. 8 will no longer be played

B.C. Realtor suspended after helping intern forge note about sick grandma

Vancouver real estate agent Jaideep Singh Puri has to pay fine, take ethics course

Offensive Facebook post by Okanagan Conservative riding sparks outrage

Post taken down after Conservative MP in neighbouring riding condemns it and demands removal

Judge rules against ALC on rural B.C. subdivision

The ALC can’t change the definition of an acre, the judge ruled.

John Horgan shrugs off low turnout, change to referendum option

‘No’ proportional representation group says voting should be extended

Most Read