It's the number one illegal drug on Canadian police forces' watch lists and it has become a real problem at the Drumheller Institution.
 
Tests on white powder that was seized in the medium security unit last month have confirmed it is the opioid Carfentanil, which is up to 100 times more powerful than the better know Fentanyl.
 
"There's points that we have to take a look at how this stuff is getting into the institutions and how we're dealing with it," argued James Bloomfield, Regional President of the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers. "Right now they're in the process of trying to figure out how it's getting in and ensuring there isn't anything left in the institution or if there is, that they get it, as much as they can, out of there."
 
The union earlier noted that there have been at least seven drug overdoses at the Drumheller Penetentiary in the last month.
 
"That's a really difficult thing to deal with and fortunately, they've been doing a fantastic job," he said of corrections officers at the prison. "They've been saving lives like crazy; it's really impressive the work that the staff on that floor have been doing."
 
He added prison staff are also in danger because of the overwhelming potency of Carfentanil.
 
"Micrograms can kill people, so the reality is it could be anything and every precaution is taken just to make sure we don't get exposed."
 
That includes wearing masks, gloves and even full hazardous materials suits when deemed necessary.
 
Bloomfield says everybody leaves the penetentiary at some time, mostly through parole or, for staff, at the end of shift, and the last thing anyone wants is a phone call saying they're not coming home because they overdosed.

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