The Alberta legislature has unanimously passed a bill that will make it more difficult to manufacture illegal opiates like fentanyl and W-18.
Bill 205, which passed its third reading on Monday, makes licences mandatory for owners of pill or tablet presses.
"This is what Albertans have been asking for, for a long time," Progressive Conservative MLA Mike Ellis told CBC News.
— Mike Ellis (@MikeEllisPC) May 16, 2016
Ellis is a former police officer in Calgary, a city where last year's fentanyl death toll exceeded fatal crashes and homicides combined, the Calgary Sun reported.
Calgary police have said W-18, an opioid, could possibly be even more dangerous than fentanyl.
"This bill will save lives. However, this is just one small step in our fight against opioid drug abuse. We must ensure there are strong intervention supports such as addiction counselling and long-term treatment beds to address the root causes of drug addiction," Ellis said in a statement.
"This bill will save lives."
A person found to be illegally in possession of a press can be fined between $50,000 and $375,000, or spend up to a year in jail.
Both police and pharmacists expressed support for the legislation.
"The province of Alberta is currently experiencing a public health crisis, specifically, unintended overdoses of illicit street drugs containing the active ingredient fentanyl," said Andy McGrogan, president of the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police, in a statement.
"The pill press facilitates the production of illicit street drugs in tablet form. This is a very important public safety issue and this legislation will increase our ability to keep communities safe.”
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