With fentanyl confirmed to be in the province and contributing to a number of deaths, people are looking at ways to protect themselves and perhaps, simply educate themselves on why this substance is so deadly.

"Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid," explained Brad Cooper, a pharmacist at Estevan's Pharmasave. "It's a cousin to morphine just many, many hundreds of times more potent. So exposure to even a very small amount can cause very serious respiratory suppression."

"It causes euphoria, that's kind of how it's been used by people who are abusing the substance. But there is a very fine line between the intended effects for abusing the medication and an overdose. It's very hard for somebody who is trying to use this drug, to do it safely. It just can't be done."

However, there is a treatment for someone who is experiencing an overdose. 

"Naloxone acts competitively in the body to block the receptors. It actually displaces the fentanyl and can reverse an overdose very, very rapidly."

He added that it works almost immediately. 

"It is the front line for these types of overdoses so it's very important that first responders and anybody in a situation where they might be dealing with somebody in an overdose situation has access to naloxone and is trained so they can administer it quickly and effectively."

Pharmasave sells the kits and he has noticed a lot of interest from a variety of people.

"People who are handling parcels that might be contaminated with powders. We've had interest from community groups that are interacting with high-risk populations, and, of course, law enforcement. I think this is part of their standard carry kit for most RCMP and EPS."

"It is something that is becoming more and more prevalent. Unfortunately, the need is there with the recent cases of exposure to fentanyl even in this area. So it's something definitely of concern."

"People need to know that this is out there, there is no safe amount." 

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