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Nelson Police issue Public Safety Message regarding illicit drug cutting agent

Health Canada said lab results show the sample contained a cutting agent identified as Phenacetin.

Nelson Police is issuing a Public Safety message after the department received lab results from Health Canada following a seizure of suspected cocaine that was sent in for analysis.

Health Canada said lab results show the sample contained a cutting agent identified as Phenacetin. Police said cutting agents are added to illicit drugs by dealers to dilute the quantity of the drug and increase the profits for the dealer. 

"Phenacetin was used as a pain killer that was banned in Canada in 1973 and in the US in 1983 after it was associated with cancer and kidney damage," Nelson Police said. "Phenacetin in certain quantities can also reduce the amount of oxygen the blood can absorb which could lead to death."

Police said Phenacetin is rated as being low risk for exposure to most Canadians as it is mainly used by laboratories for research and in small amounts in some hair dye products.

"Although Phenacetin is listed on several internet sites as a possible cutting agent, it’s new to the Nelson area," NPD release said.

For more information on Phenacetin please visit the following websites: Health Canada or Phenacetin Safety Data Sheet