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Grande Prairie RCMP issued a warning Friday after it was revealed fentanyl linked to a deadly overdose was mixed with a chemical that doesn’t respond to naloxone treatment.

The drugs were initially seized on Feb. 28 after a fatal overdose, and this week, Health Canada reported back to Mounties that the fentanyl had been mixed with Bromazolam, which is a benzodiazepine.

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Mounties say this is the first recorded instance of Bromazolam in Alberta. The drug has previously been linked to nine fatal overdoses in New Brunswick in 2022.

The pills seized in Alberta were oval-shaped, stamped with “20” and “SS”, though Mounties say it can come in other forms.

Naloxone treatment, given in many cases of opioid toxicity, is not effective in reversing the effects of Bromazalam, Mounties said, and therefore, any fentanyl mixed with the benzodiazepine “would see a reduced effectiveness of naloxone, requiring the use of additional doses and may still result in a fatality.”

Alberta RCMP benzo fentanyl
Photo of benzodiazepine-laced fentanyl seized earlier this year by Grande Prairie RCMP after a fatal overdoze. edm

From January to November of last year, there were 1,706 opioid-related deaths in Alberta, and 57 linked to benzodiazepine, up from 1,375 and 43, respectively, in 2022.

Mounties say officers responded to about 1,100 opioid-related calls for service, last year with a third of those proving fatal. RCMP officers also used naloxone 67 times while in the field, a jump of nearly a third over the previous year.

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