11/22/2016 16:07 EST | Updated 11/23/2017 00:12 EST

Elephant sedative carfentanil detected on Vancouver streets for first time

Vancouver Police say they have detected the deadly opioid carfentanil for the first time in a Vancouver drug seizure.

Health Canada has confirmed the presence of carfentanil in drugs that were seized in the Downtown Eastside on Sept. 20.

Police confiscated several grams of what they believed to be heroin from a man in the north lane of Powell Steet and Heatley Avenue after reports the man was carrying a firearm.

Carfentanil is 100 times more toxic than fentanyl and is used to tranquillize elephants and other large animals. It can be fatal to humans in a volume of 20 micrograms, which is less than a grain of salt.

Police are warning opioid drug users and anyone associated with them to be aware of the signs of overdose.