Syringes containing the opioid painkiller fentanyl. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

Syringes containing the opioid painkiller fentanyl. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

Deadly synthetic drug found in Kamloops that puts users in ‘zombielike’ state

Interior Health warning says substance causes ‘speedy, trippy-like symptoms’ and hallucinations

  • Apr. 22, 2019 10:15 a.m.

Kamloops This Week

A synthetic drug found in fentanyl in Kamloops is the same drug that led to a mass overdose event in Brooklyn in 2015 in which those affected were described as acting like zombies.

Interior Health has issued a warning after a drug-checking machine — Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectrometer — revealed that beige pebbles found in Kamloops contained caffeine, heroin, fentanyl and a synthetic cannabinoid called AMB-FUBINACA.

Interior Health said the AMB-FUBINACA substance causes “speedy, trippy-like symptoms” with hallucinations. In high doses, users of the synthetic cannabinoid can appear to be having what looks like an opioid overdose, but will not respond to Naloxone, a medication that temporarily reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

AMB-FUBINACA was the drug involved in a mass casualty overdose event in Brooklyn four years ago in which 18 men were taken to hospital after being found in what the New England Journal of Medicine called “zombielike” state, based on observations by onlookers.

READ MORE: B.C. opioid overdoses still killing four people a day, health officials say

Those who had overdosed on the synthetic drug fell into “a trancelike state, groaning and moaning, their eyes lifeless and their movements slow and seemingly mechanical,” according to a December 2016 New York Times article.

The synthetic cannabinoid was originally developed by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, but never tested on humans as the company abandoned its research.

AMB-FUBINACA was also listed as being responsible for about 20 overdose deaths in New Zealand in 2017.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the AMB-FUBICANA tested in Brooklyn in the summer of 2015 was 85 times as potent as the main agent in plant-grown marijuana — THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

Synthetic drugs like AMB-FUBICANA and K2 are made in labs and a world apart from natural cannabis.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

Jethro Rolland, 8, and Guinevere Rolland, 6, test out the ice at the new outdoor rink in 100 Mile House. (Kelly Sinoski photo - 100 Mile Free Press).
Outdoor ice rinks popular Cariboo pastime

The skaters are out this winter across the South Cariboo.

A power outage Thursday night left nearly 3,000 homes in Clinton and the 70 Mile areas in the dark. (Katie McCullough photo).
Updated: Clinton, 70 Mile left in the dark after vehicle crashes into transmission pole

BC Hydro still working to restore power to 330 homes in 70 Mile House

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
115 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths in Interior Health

There are now a total of 4,970 cases in the region

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Most Read