Posters warning people against taking fentanyl are going up around Vancouver.
The earliest sighting of the prints that I could find on social media date to August 13.
So far in 2015, fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that’s 50 to 100 times more toxic than morphine, has been detected in 66 overdose deaths in B.C. That’s up from 13 in 2012 and is on track to surpass the 90 seen in 2013.
The posters are a play on the ground-breaking 1980 videogame Pac-Man. They depict that character eating fentanyl in the form of green pills that are being sold in Vancouver this summer as 80-millgram OxyContin.
In the posters, Pac-Man eats the pills and dies.
“PacMan has multiple lives but in real life you only get one,” one version of the poster reads. “GAME OVER.”
Who's responsible for the posters remains a mystery. A group called Know Your Source, which is funded by Lower Mainland police agencies and health authorities, has an advertising campaign about fentanyl running on billboards and at bus stops. But those ads are of a more corporate look reminiscent of the anti-smoking graphics one finds on packages of cigarettes.
I sent a quick inquiry to the Vancouver Police Department about the street-style posters and a spokesperson got back saying they don't know where they're coming from.
Does anybody know who might be behind the Pac-Man prints?