Fentanyl Interventions in Vancouver

Fentanyl Interventions in Vancouver

The number of overdose deaths due to fentanyl is increasing daily. Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic painkiller. It is roughly 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. It’s cheaper and easier to manufacture than heroin, and due to its potency and lesser cost, fentanyl has become a common substance in the illicit drug trade.

According to the B.C. Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU) over 80 percent of drugs sold as heroin in Vancouver don’t contain heroin. And statistics from the BC Coroners Service revealed that fentanyl was linked to 81 per cent of the 1,422 fatal overdoses across the province in 2017.

Fentanyl is found in thousands of counterfeit pill prescriptions, but it is also commonly used to treat severe pain during cancer treatment or after surgery. It is an effective pain relief drug, but the immense potency means it is also highly addictive, and overdose risk is especially high for people who do not have an opioid tolerance.

Many people are prescribed fentanyl as an opioid pain reliever (OPR), and because it is not a street drug like heroin, patients often fail to realize how dangerously addictive it is, which can quickly lead to accidental abuse.

When a loved one is in the grip of a physical addiction, talking is never enough to help them become sober, but it is the first step. Unfortunately, friends and family may not have the professional skills or knowledge to guide their loved one through this difficult period. This is where a professional interventionist can help.

When to Intervene

It can be difficult to know when a loved one needs intervention, but a few signs that show your loved one may be struggling include:

  • Secretive behaviour
  • Telling lies
  • Distancing
  • Borrowing money
  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Lack of care for physical appearance
  • Lack of energy or motivation
  • Problems at work or school
  • Health issues

Friends and family may be too emotionally involved to approach the patient with the care, understanding, patience and resolve needed to encourage the patient to seek help, but an intervention specialist can help break the cycle of denial and keep communication open between all parties involved.

The Intervention Process

Each intervention is different. There isn’t one formula or template that can be followed to ensure a successful intervention. An intervention specialist will work closely with intervening parties to gain a good understanding of the patient’s needs and personality, the family dynamic and history, and the family members, friends and co-workers who would be helpful during an intervention. An intervention is an emotionally charged time, and all participants should be prepared for intense and upsetting confrontations.

The interventionist will help participating members prepare for the intervention. This will include education on the effects of addiction, how it changes brain chemistry, and how friends and family can help the patient find moments of clarity. The intervention specialist will help choose the location for the intervention to ensure it is appropriate and will aid the process. They also have the experience and skills to manage a hostile environment and confrontational behavior.

Seeking fentanyl intervention is a first step to sobriety, but it can be a long and difficult road. Professional help can offer the skills, experience, and support to ensure the intervention process is successful, giving patients a better chance of full recovery.

If you are concerned about a friend or family member, talk to an intervention specialist in Vancouver as soon as possible. It’s never too soon to help a friend.


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