A 21-year-old Ontario woman received six years in prison for selling fentanyl Thursday, a stiff sentence that her lawyer attributes to the growing opioid crisis in the region.

Brittany Thorn was in a Waterloo Region courthouse on Thursday for fentanyl trafficking. In handing down his sentence, the judge warned her that selling large amounts of the powerful painkiller fentanyl could have led to hundreds of deaths.

According to an agreed statement of facts, Thorn and her boyfriend Harmanpal Sidhu sold drugs to an undercover police officer last August.

When police raided the couple’s Kitchener, Ont. apartment, they found fentanyl and other drugs with a street value of approximately $100,000, according to court documents.

In recent years, the rise of the powerful and deadly painkiller as a popular street drug has reached crisis levels in Canada, crime prevention officials say.

Thorn’s sentence was a joint recommendation by her lawyer Ryan Heighton and the Crown.

Heighton called his client’s sentence appropriate in light of the dramatic increase of the deadly drug.

“The sentencing range just keeps creeping up because of the problems in the community,” he told CTV Kitchener outside the courthouse.

Heighton said he’s worried that others are willingly risking their lives just to get high.

He said he tells his clients coming out of custody to be “very, very careful because now fentanyl is being branded as fentanyl. People are knowingly going into it with their eyes wide open.”

Thorn’s boyfriend Sidhu pleaded guilty earlier this year, and he is facing sentencing next month. In Sidhu’s case, the Crown is expected to seek a sentence of at least 10 years.

With a report by CTV Kitchener’s Nicole Lampa