The death of "Glee" star Cory Monteith is raising questions about the possibility that a particularly potent batch of heroin is being sold on the streets of B.C. right now.
UPDATE: The BC Coroners Service sent out an information bulletin Wednesday afternoon stating that toxicology results on Cory Monteith did not indicate any presence of the drug fentanyl.
The Abbotsford Police Department issued a news release Wednesday warning heroin users "to exercise extreme caution and call 911 with any signs of medical distress."
The release states that Abbotsford police have seen a spike in heroin overdoses — seven since May — and that calls for medical assistance related to heroin use may have risen by as much as 39 per cent.
The release points to a May 30 bulletin from the Office of the Provincial Health Officer warning that there were 23 deaths related to the opioid fentanyl in the first four months of the year, compared to 20 fentanyl-related deaths in the whole of 2012.
"Fentanyl is very dangerous, and people taking it might be under the impression that they are taking either heroin or oxycodone," the bulletin stated.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Vancouver police said that they could not comment on whether Monteith's death was connected to a bad batch of heroin. That information, they said, would only be available once the B.C. Coroners Service release their final report on the actor's death and the levels of drugs and alcohol found in his body.
Barb McClintock of the B.C. Coroners Service told The Huffington Post Wednesday that they had received the Abbotsford Police Department statement and that researchers were looking into it immediately.
It is too soon, she said, to draw any connections to Monteith's death, but confirmed that the information is of interest to the Coroners Service as they worked on their final report.
A Canadian criminal lawyer has called on the Vancouver police to investigate who supplied Monteith with heroin, CBC reported. Robb MacDonald told CBC it is routine for police to dig deeper into such cases.
At Tuesday's VPD press conference, however, police said that there would be no investigation into who supplied Monteith with the heroin as there is no provision under Canadian law to place charges in this situation.
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