New Help at the Border to Prevent Illegal Importation of Fentanyl

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Green beans
Green beans - Image - Manitoba RCMP

OTTAWA – NEWS – The federal government is working toward greater enforcement and protection at the border.

The overdose crisis continues to be one of the most serious public health issues in Canada’s recent history. Tragically, 29,052 lives have been lost in Canada between January 2016 and December 2021, devastating families and communities across the country, with the majority of these deaths involving fentanyl or fentanyl-related substances.

“The Canada Border Services Agency has various tools in place to keep Canadians safe from illegal substances entering our country. By expanding the existing authority, our frontline officers can now take further action against emerging threats at our border, such as fentanyl precursors. I want to commend CBSA employees, and all law enforcement agencies and partners, for their commitment and excellent work in keeping our communities safe,” stated Marco Mendicino Minister of Public Safety.

The Government continues to work with its partners to help reduce the toxicity of the illegal drug supply in Canada. Importation of new chemicals—known as precursors—are being used in the illegal production of fentanyl and fentanyl analogues. Illegal drug producers often deliberately engineer substances to circumvent existing international and domestic control measures.

Yesterday, a new Order issued by Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act came into force to help address the illegal importation and distribution of a group of novel fentanyl precursors that are used in the illegal production of fentanyl and substances chemically related to fentanyl, known as fentanyl analogues. This Order will enable the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and other law enforcement agencies and partners to take action against any illegal importation, distribution and use of the analogues and derivatives of the fentanyl precursor N-Phenyl-4-piperidinamine and its salts.

Controls for precursor chemicals, like this one, decrease the production and supply of toxic illegal drugs that are contributing to substance use harms in Canada and to the opioid overdose crisis.

In addition, there are ongoing actions at the border that contribute to addressing the overdose crisis. The CBSA has detection tools and enhanced safety measures in place for border services officers to safely and effectively detect, examine and interdict fentanyl and other toxic substances at the border. By preventing narcotics from entering Canada, border services officers help make our streets and communities safer. CBSA officers are highly trained in contraband examination techniques and are aware of the latest concealment trends.

The Government of Canada remains committed to taking action to address the overdose crisis through a compassionate, comprehensive, collaborative and evidence-based public health approach, which includes prevention, treatment, harm reduction and enforcement activities.

Bennett states, “Our government understands that the overdose crisis and toxic drug supply are multifaceted, and we are working with our departments and agencies to face them head on. With the signing of this Order, we are giving law enforcement the tools needed to take action to halt the importation, distribution and use of chemicals being used in the illegal production of fentanyl and fentanyl analogues in Canada. The presence of fentanyl and fentanyl analogues in the toxic illegal drug supply has been a main driver in the overdose crisis, resulting in a tragic loss of lives in Canada.”