Alcohol & Drug Assessment

Algoma Public Health


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What are Opioids?


  • Opioids are a class of drugs that include prescriptions such as oxycodone, codeine, and morphine, as well as illegal drugs such as heroin and fentanyl.
  • There is a growing public health emergency regarding drug overdoses.
  • Overdoses are increasingly linked with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is approximately 50-100 times stronger than morphine.
  • Fentanyl has been detected in cocaine, crack, MDMA (ecstasy), crystal meth, heroin, and fake oxys.


Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is approximately 50-100 times more toxic than morphine. Many opioid overdoses are linked with fentanyl due to its harmful effects. You cannot see, smell or taste fentanyl, so there is no way to know if it is in your drugs or not.


Carfentanil is a fentanyl analogue (equivalent) that is used by vets to tranquilize large animals. It is 100x more toxic than fentanyl. There is no way to know if carfentanil is in your drugs. It is extremely toxic and an amount as small as 2 grains of salt can cause an overdose, or even death.

What does an overdose look like?

  • Person is unresponsive or does not easily wake up
  • Slow or no breathing
  • Snoring or gurgling sounds
  • Lips and nails are blue
  • Skin is cold and clammy
  • Pinpoint pupils

Overdoses do not discriminate

With any drug use (prescription or illegal), serious harm or death is an extremely real possibility, every time you use.

  >>Return to opioids and overdose.