White House picks up on debunked Vancouver Police claim of fentanyl-laced pot (Dr. M-J Milloy, BCCSU)

In a digital version of broken telephone, the debunked claim that illicit cannabis is now being laced with deadly fentanyl has travelled to the White House from a Vancouver police press release put out four years ago.

Twice in the past month, the U.S. federal opioids czar Kellyanne Conway has parroted this claim: during a March 1 panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbour, Md., and, again, two weeks ago in a press briefing on the continuing overdose crisis.

“Fentanyl is an instant killer and a tiny little grain of it can wipe us out – a little, little grain – and it’s being laced into marijuana, heroin, meth, cocaine and street drugs,” Ms. Conway told a packed crowd at the annual conference of right-wing activists and politicians.

Dr. M-J Milloy, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at the BC Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU), said it is concerning that the White House is repeating this “urban legend” in the midst of a continuing national public health emergency, especially since early research is showing cannabis may be a “gateway drug” to help people to wean themselves off deadly opioids.

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