Officers in the West Kootenay city sent a seized powder to Health Canada for testing and results confirm it was cocaine that had been cut with phenacetin. (wuestenigel/Flickr)

Cancer-causing substance used to cut cocaine turns up in Nelson, B.C., drugs

Police warn the once-popular painkiller was banned in Canada in 1973

Police in Nelson, B.C., have issued a public safety warning after learning suspected cocaine had been cut with a potentially cancer-causing substance.

Officers in the West Kootenay city sent a seized powder to Health Canada for testing and results confirm it was cocaine that had been cut with phenacetin.

READ MORE: Alert issued after 12 overdoses in one B.C. city in one day

The police warning says the once-popular painkiller was banned in Canada in 1973 after being linked to cancerous tumours and kidney damage and can also contribute to death by reducing the amount of oxygen that blood can absorb.

An information sheet posted by Health Canada says phenacetin is no longer considered a drug but is listed as an industrial lab chemical, and is also found in a small number of hair dyes as a hydrogen peroxide stabilizer.

The release from Nelson says the phenacetin is listed as a cutting agent for cocaine on several internet sites but is new in the southeastern B.C. city.

Hundreds of kilograms of the substance have been uncovered by police across the Vancouver area, including 227 kilograms seized last November during a raid in Surrey.

The Canadian Press

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

BREAKING: Fatal motorcycle crash on Highway 97 near Summerland

The incident involving a motorcycle happened just before 4 p.m.

Camper explodes near Princeton along Similkameen River

One man was sent to Princeton Hospital May 23 after a camper… Continue reading

COVID-19 closes Okanagan College summer camps

Popular Camp OC put on shelf from Salmon Arm to Penticton, and Revelstoke, until 2021

Summerland adopts sign policy for Bottleneck Drive members

Policy governs directional signs for wineries, breweries, cideries and distilleries

Petition seeks to clean up Okanagan forests ‘carpeted’ with shotgun shells

Penticton man says making shot-gun shells refundable would create cleaner forests

B.C. records no new COVID-19 deaths for the first time in weeks

Good news comes despite 11 new test-positive cases in B.C. in the past 24 hours

Peachland recovery task force proposes larger patios

Several initiatives proposed by the Peachland COVID-19 recovery task force will go to council tonight

Tagging Suicide Hill in Vernon in lieu of grad party?

City councillor pitches idea to revive old tradition amid COVID-19 pandemic

BC Corrections to expand list of eligible offenders for early release during pandemic

Non-violent offenders are being considered for early release through risk assessment process

Fraser Valley driver featured on ‘Highway Thru Hell’ TV show dies

Monkhouse died Sunday night of a heartattack, Jamie Davis towing confirmed

B.C. visitor centres get help with COVID-19 prevention measures

Destination B.C. gearing up for local, in-province tourism

North Okanagan campers trashing rules

Campers still pitching tents, and leaving garbage, despite sites not being open until June 1

Most Read