Police and former fentanyl user warn of dangers.

Abbigail Guse, CONTRIBUTOR

An increase in opioid related deaths have raised many concerns about fentanyl. THE PROJECTOR/ Abbigail Guse.

In the past months, the word “fentanyl” has become part of the vocabulary of many people in Winnipeg. Fentanyl is a drug that Winnipeg police have called an epidemic, and it’s suspected to be the cause of death of at least seven people in the past two months.

Many of the people dying of suspected fentanyl overdoses are young people. In the past week, two men, 21 and 22, died in hospital of suspected fentanyl overdoses.

“I’d say more than half the people who do fentanyl don’t understand the effects of it, don’t know their drugs are cut with it,” said Alex McDonnell, 25. “These are just kids who wanna smoke some weed and get high. They don’t get that fentanyl can kill you if it’s in there.”

McDonnell used fentanyl four years ago. He said it’s changed a lot since then. He said the issue with fentanyl today is that it’s used as a filler drug, and it can be hard to know if other drugs are cut with it.

McDonnell said that if you’re with people who are doing fentanyl often, then maybe you need to find some new friends.

“Just steer clear of drugs,” said McDonnell. “If you’re using, then be around safe people and use it safely. It’s not worth your life.”

McDonnell says that if you’re getting drugs, then you should be able to ask your dealer if they’re cutting your drugs and what they’re cutting it with.

Constable Jason Michalyshen of the Winnipeg Police Service said that fentanyl is a drug that you can’t see, smell or taste, but it is dangerous.

“It can kill you. That’s the message. It’s not pretty, it’s simple,” said Michalyshen.

Michalyshen said that if you’re in a situation where fentanyl is being used, or if you know your friends are doing it, then the best thing to do is offer support.

“Illicit drug use is present in our city,” said Michalyshen. “We’re responding to countless ODs. Sometimes people are being provided the antidote on time, some cases it’s too late.”

The best way to avoid Fentanyl is to avoid drugs. Michalyshen said anyone using drugs should be aware of all of the risks and do research into the antidotes.