01 Aug Interventions in BC: Study Finds 88% of Heroin Contains Fentanyl
Drug checking in British Columbia has found that hidden fentanyl is involved in the majority of overdose deaths in the province.
The BC Centre on Substance Use has taken a leading role in responding to this unprecedented public-health emergency. With the help of Vancouver Foundation, Canada’s largest community foundation, the BCCSU has been able to conduct research into drug checking.
According to research, out of the 1,422 overdose deaths that occurred in British Columbia last year, over 80 per cent involved fentanyl.
“Drug checking puts in place a consumer safety mechanism,” says project lead Dr. Kenneth Tupper, BCCSU’s director of implementation and partnerships. Tupper notes that the majority of the nearly 1,000 samples tested by the BCCSU between November 2017 and February 2018 were opioids (60 per cent). Of these samples, 88 per cent tested positive for fentanyl, and while the vast majority of opioid-using clients said they had bought “heroin,” only 18 per cent of samples were found to contain actual heroin (diacetylmorphine). “There’s no quality control over the distribution of illicit substances. This testing gives information directly to clients to allow for better-informed and safer decision-making,” Tupper says.
For Andy Bhatti, professional Drug and Alcohol Interventionist in Vancouver, this means addicts who believe they’re taking heroin are actually becoming addicted to fentanyl, one of the deadliest drugs on the streets today.
With this information, Andy believes those addicts need to receive help and an intervention in B.C. before it’s too late.
The drug-checking machine is currently available at two authorized injection sites in Vancouver. Soon, it will be offered in other health regions and evaluated for its role in helping stop overdose deaths.
Results, including the amount of fentanyl found in the drugs, are shared with public-health authorities to provide a snapshot of what’s available in the illegal drug market.
Andy hopes that this project will also include the option to educate the addicts on getting clean, receiving an intervention in BC and creating a sober life.
BC has some of the highest numbers of deaths related to overdoses of any province.
Although British Columbia is making progress on reducing the number of deaths due to overdoses, as an interventionist in BC, Andy knows that interventions are the real solution.
Andy struggled with addiction himself while living in British Columbia and understands the process many addicts go through to start living a clean life. It’s not an easy journey, but if Andy and the hundreds of people who have been helped by Andy Bhatti and professional drug and alcohol counsellors can do it, anyone can.
If you know someone who is struggling with a drug addiction currently in BC, reach out to us. We can show you how instead of taking clean drugs, your loved one can become sober. The first step is reaching out to Andy Bhatti, the second step is having an intervention in BC.