Ottawa (AFP) - The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and China have agreed to jointly combat transpacific trafficking of fentanyl into Canada, they said Thursday following a wave of overdoses with the powerful synthetic opioid.
RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson and Ministry of Public Security (MPS) Vice Minister Chen Zhimin agreed at a meeting in Ottawa "to strengthen coordinated law enforcement actions to disrupt the supply of fentanyl and synthetic opioids," according to their joint statement.
The drug's use in Canada has turned into a public health crisis that Paulson described as "a grave threat."
Highly potent and addictive, the analgesic is estimated to be up to 100 times stronger than morphine. The related drug carfentanil is 100 times more powerful than fentanyl.
Two milligrams of pure fentanyl (the size of about four grains of salt) is enough to kill the average adult.
Coroners have said the drugs were responsible for 2,000 deaths in Canada in 2015 and an even higher number is expected this year.
Three recent busts saw the powerful narcotics intercepted by border officials, during a routine traffic stop in Vancouver, and by postal staff.