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CBSA can now seize chemicals used to make illegal opioids


June 4, 2019
By Staff

As of May 15, Canada’s border officials and other law enforcement officers now have new powers to seize chemicals used to make illegal opioids.

The Government of Canada announced new regulatory amendments to help tackle the illegal trafficking and production of controlled substances. The amendments under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) came into force immediately and control specific chemicals—known as precursors—from being imported and used in the illegal production of fentanyls and amphetamines, such as methamphetamine and MDMA (commonly known as ecstasy).

In recent years, law enforcement identified novel chemicals not controlled under the CDSA that were making their way across the border and being used in the illegal production of fentanyls and amphetamines. Before these regulatory changes, law enforcement could act only once illegal sub-stances were produced using these chemicals, or if there was evidence that the chemicals were in-tended to be used to produce an illegal substance.

With the new changes last month, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and other law enforcement officers can now take action against illegal activities involving precursor chemicals, such as benzylfentanyl, derivatives and analogues of 4-anilino-N-phenethylpiperidine (ANPP) and norfentanyl. Specifically, officers can detain and seize these chemicals to prevent them from enter-ing Canada.

“The regulatory amendments that come into effect today will help protect the health and safety of Canadians by making it easier for our border service and police officers to tackle illegal trafficking and production of controlled substances involving novel chemicals,” said Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor in a statement.

The opioid crisis has killed more than 10,330 Canadians between January 2016 and September 2018, according to Health Canada. Since 2017, nearly three quarters of opioid-related deaths in Canada involved fentanyl or fentanyl-related substances.