05/15/2015 11:51 EDT | Updated 05/15/2016 05:59 EDT

Vancouver drug users warned to watch out for stolen fentanyl patches

Stolen fetanyl patches could make their way to local drug users, Vancouver police warned on Friday after thieves robbed a Victoria Drive pharmacy.

The Medicine Shoppe on Victoria Drive near East 47th Avenue was robbed shortly after 9:00 a.m. PT Friday.

There were various prescription drugs that were taken including a small quantity of stolen fentanyl patches that have caused concern for police.

Drug users should be aware of the risks posed to people using this substance, VPD said in a release.

Fentanyl is a synthetic narcotic that is 50 to 100 times more toxic than other opioids and the doses consumed must be carefully monitored to avoid accidental overdose.

Early signs of a fentanyl overdose include severe sleepiness, slow heartbeat; trouble breathing or slow, shallow breathing or snoring; cold, clammy skin; and trouble with walking or talking. 

Drug users are advised to never inject, snort, or swallow drugs alone and to call 9-1-1 immediately if overdose symptoms start.