WATCH: Winnipeg paramedic warns of the dangers of abusing fentanyl.
In the wake of several suspected opioid-related deaths in Winnipeg, the province is launching a public awareness campaign about the dangers of fentanyl.
The campaign will run on social media, with images, videos and P.S.A’s going up on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It’s designed to reach students and kicked off at Shaftesbury High School on Friday afternoon.
Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen, who has called the recent spike in Fentanyl overdoses a crisis, spoked directly to students on hand to watch the news conference.
“I’d love to meet your parents someday, but I don’t want to meet them that way. I don’t want to meet your mom and dad and have them tell me you had a great, bright future and it was taken away because of something you took that you didn’t know had Fentanyl.”
Fire Paramedic Chief John Lane also spoke, saying his crews had never seen anything like what’s been going on lately.
“It’s certainly something that we see on a daily basis,” he said. “It’s truly frightening.”
Manitoba saw nine reported Fentanyl overdoses in the first five months of 2016 and Lane says that number will rise.
A 30-year-old man was found dead as a result of a suspected fentanyl overdose inside a hotel room on McDermot Avenue in the Exchange District. Tests are being done to confirm the cause of the death.
That same night emergency crews were called to the Richmond West neighbourhood around 9:30 p.m. Two men were found in medical distress inside a home on Kinlock Lane. Both were rushed to hospital, but the 22-year-old man died. A 21-year-old has since been upgraded to stable condition. Police say they found illicit drugs in the home and suspect it’s fentanyl, but again, are awaiting tests.
One man and two women were found dead inside a home in Inkster Gardens and police say it could be fentanyl related.
Officers found three bodies as well as an “unknown white substance and drug paraphernalia,” Const. Rob Carver of the Winnipeg police said. However, Carver said they are suspicious the white substance was fentanyl.
On Oct. 21, police found an infant boy in critical condition in a house on Aikens Street in the North End, and rushed him to hospital. Police confirmed he was exposed to the deadly drug, carfentanil in his Winnipeg home.
The 9-month-old recovered and now is safe in care, police said.
After the incident, Const. Jason Michalyshen from the Winnipeg Police Service aid the use of fentanyl and carfentanil is growing in the city.
“This is a wake up call for our entire community,” Michalyshen said. “The conversation needs to be had that the drug is in our community and cannot ignore it.”
Two bodies were found in a car in the North End on the 200 block of College Avenue. Police said they cannot confirm the cause of death, as they’re still waiting on results from autopsies. However, they did say there is a possibility of a connection to fentanyl or carfentanil.