BC drug lab could have produced enough fentanyl to kill everyone in Canada 4 times

The amount of fentanyl necessary to cause a fatal overdose varies from person to person, but the generally accepted size of a potentially lethal dose is just two milligrams – about the size of a few grains of sugar.

During a recent bust at a drug lab in BC’s Fraser Valley, RCMP officers say they found enough raw material to produce 160 million doses of fentanyl that size.

The 320 kilograms of fentanyl that Mounties say the home lab could have produced would theoretically be enough to kill every single person in Canada four times over and still have enough of the drug to kill most of Ontario a fifth time.

It’s unclear exactly where the June 2 seizure from a rural home in Chilliwack ranks in comparison to other drug busts carried out by the RCMP’s Clandestine Laboratory Enforcement and Response (CLEAR) team. CTV News has asked Mounties for more information in this regard, and will update this story if a response is received.

Wherever it ranks, the seizure is significant. The BC RCMP’s Federal Serious and Organized Crime (FSOC) unit said in a news release that the CLEAR team had located the “significant cache of chemicals used in synthetic drug production” during a search of a home on Extrom Road.

Among the items seized were 160 liters of propionyl chloride – which RCMP described as a “Class A precursor” – and more than 2,000 liters of “industrial solvents commonly used in the illicit production of synthetic drugs,” police said.

Investigators also found “other signs that a clandestine laboratory was in the early stages of being constructed,” according to police.

No arrests were made during the search, Mounties said, adding that charges have not yet been laid in the investigation.

“The recovery of these precursors represents a significant disruption to the illicit synthetic drug market,” said Supt. Bert Ferreira, the officer in charge of the BC RCMP FSOC Border Integrity Program, in the news release.

“More importantly, this seizure prevents additional deadly drugs from harming our communities that continue to suffer from the opioid crisis.”

Last year saw the most illicit drug overdose deaths ever recorded in BC, and the first four months of 2022 put the province on pace to eclipse the record again.

There were 722 overdose deaths from January to April, an average of 180.5 per month or more than six per day.

Fentanyl was recorded in the systems of 83 per cent of those who died of overdoses in BC during the period.

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