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Police investigating possible criminal offence after man suffers 'mysterious' fentanyl poisoning in BC

Police in Vancouver say they’re investigating how a man "mysteriously" fell ill from fentanyl poisoning following a brief encounter with a stranger last week.

The Vancouver Police Department said in a statement that investigators are probing how the 56−year−old man, who does not use drugs, was exposed to the powerful opioid, and whether the incident involved a criminal offence.

Police said the man was walking in the city’s Chinatown neighbourhood around 9 pm on Nov. 22, and had a "brief encounter" with someone before collapsing in medical distress.

They said paramedics administered the overdose−reversing drug naloxone and the man was taken to hospital for treatment of fentanyl poisoning.

<who> Photo credit: Canadian Press

“This is a troubling case, and we don’t yet have all the answers, but some of our most experienced people are now leading this investigation,” said Cst. Tania Visintin.

“We have heard from community members who are troubled by this incident. We want everyone to know that we’re working hard to find out what happened.”

Police added that the man, who only speaks Cantonese, has since recovered, while investigators have identified the stranger he had the interaction with.

“We know this man is not a drug user and that he did not intentionally consume fentanyl on the night he fell ill,” Cst. Visintin added.

“We are working with the man, his family, and medical professionals to understand how lethal drugs entered his system. We have not ruled out the possibility he was intentionally exposed to fentanyl.”

– With files from Canadian Press


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