03/26/2015 12:11 EDT | Updated 05/26/2015 05:59 EDT

Southern Alberta reserve training people on use of fentanyl antidote

STANDOFF, Alta. - A southern Alberta reserve where two people died from what police believe was a potent amount of fentanyl is training people on the use of an antidote.

Health officials from the Blood Tribe say the special drug kit could help save someone's life in the event of an overdose.

The illegal drug is sometimes sold to unsuspecting buyers as OxyContin or heroin and has been linked to more than 100 deaths in Alberta last year.

Blood Tribe doctor, Esther Tailfeathers, says the drug Naloxone (nay-LAHKS'-ohn) can counter the effects of opioids such as fentanyl.

The band declared a state of emergency earlier this month over the use of pills containing fentanyl.

Three people from the reserve have been charged in the drug overdose deaths of a man and a woman who were both in their 40s.

Blood Tribe police Chief Lee Boyd has said authorities on the reserve will do everything in their power to stop trafficking of the illicit drug.

Fentanyl can be many times more powerful and toxic than morphine and can be mixed into other street drugs.

Fentanyl made by pharmaceutical companies is used to treat severe pain or to manage pain after surgery. Illegally made fentanyl is made in clandestine drug labs and sold in pills or powder.

(CJOC, The Canadian Press)

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