05 Dec The Fentanyl Crisis in Vancouver, B.C. and Calgary, Alberta
What are we seeing on the streets?
As a drug and alcohol interventionist that works with addicts all over Langley, Surrey, Vancouver, Calgary and Western Canada, I have witnessed that over 90% of addicts taking opiates are using fentanyl without even knowing. I have been drug testing clients all over Vancouver B.C. every few days for the last 18 months. 8 out of 10 clients that are taking opiates have been testing positive for fentanyl. The big problem right now is that clients are thinking they are buying real oxycontin pills from people that are saying they got them from a doctor but they are made with fentanyl in them.
Over the last 6 months I have also been testing clients that are just weekly or monthly cocaine users in Vancouver and Calgary. They too have also tested positive for Fentanyl. The last 3 months we have seen a major increase in fake xanax pills with fentanyl in them. Once the clients find out they have tested positive for benzodiazepine and fentanyl they get really scared and mad at the person they have bought the pills from. Clients are starting to worry that they could have died or overdosed if they would have taken a tiny bit more heroin, cocaine, oxycontin or xanax.
Most addicts didn’t know that the drugs they were taking, were mixed with fentanyl. Over the last month there have been more overdoses reported by my clients in the downtown eastside of Vancouver than ever reported in history before.
On my Facebook news feed I have seen over 6 deaths of people I have known in recovery that have relapsed and went back to addiction or didn’t get the chance to get clean.
Reasons people are still doing heroin with fentanyl
The big problem with addicts staying on opiates and fentanyl is that there are not enough doctors prescribing methadone or suboxen in Vancouver, Surrey, Abbotsford or other cities in the lower mainland. Most methadone and suboxen clinics in Calgary, Alberta and Vancouver B.C are now too full to accept any newer patients or they have a week to 3 week waiting list to get in. Once the addict decides he wants to get clean, he finds out the wait list is too long so they give up. These people are addicted to opiates like heroin, oxycontin, hydromorphone and fentanyl.
They will eventually go into physical withdrawal where their body needs the drugs to function or they will be too sick to eat, shower, go to work, drive or even parent their own kids. So, the addict chooses to keep doing the drug to function at all costs. The wait list to go into detox in Vancouver B.C. and Calgary, Alberta is on average a week to 2- 3 weeks long. By the time the addict gets the phone call to go into detox he is already back into the full-blown addiction cycle. That’s where the overdoses and deaths happen. The addict gives up hope on life.
As an ex heroin addict myself for over 12 years living in Vancouver B.C. and all over Calgary, Alberta. Heroin was the hardest drug for me to quit. Sometimes you really want to quit, but by the time you find out how hard it is to get into a public detox or treatment center in Vancouver or Calgary. The wait time can make it seem easier to just stay on drugs and wait until you end up in jail.
Lots of addicts that are addicted to heroin will choose to do fentanyl instead of heroin if a drug dealer is selling fentanyl cheaper than heroin.
People ask why would you do that? Well if an addict can buy the drug cheaper and the drug lasts longer, you don’t have to do as much of the drug in a day. An addicts mind is if I don’t have to spend as much money on the drug and I don’t have to steal as much, sell their body as much, rob stores as often, or do whatever they must do to get the money to support their drug addiction.
Most addicts living in Vancouver on the downtown eastside or that are homeless that are using fentanyl, heroin or opiates will have an average drug habit of a minimum of $200 a day. The drug habit can also go up to a $1000 a day depending on how high their habit gets because their body will get immune to the drug.
What Can Be Done to Prevent Deaths?
One of the biggest things that can be done to prevent more deaths, is to have a drug and alcohol intervention on your loved one. Then get them into a drug and alcohol treatment center as soon as you can. Another major way to prevent more deaths from happening is to never use alone. Have a somebody with you that has a naloxone kit with them. Just in case you overdose, they can help save your life and give you a naloxone shot.
More ways to prevent more addiction deaths from happening, is to have doctors at medical walk in clinics or hospitals in Calgary, Alberta and Vancouver B.C. that will prescribe methadone or suboxen.
I also believe that if we had a safe injection site in every local city where there is an opiate crisis. Addicts would have a safe place to use at where they can also get information on places where they can go to seek help and or treatment.
Sometimes the harm reduction approach is good. It’s a way of keeping the drug addict alive until he or she is ready to accept help for their addiction.
Working with addicts that are addicted to opiates, heroin or fentanyl all over Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and as far east as St. John’s Newfoundland. I have discovered that a lot of addicts suffer from childhood trauma. They choose to stay on drugs to block the pain, trauma, and painful memories of childhood sexual abuse or victimization.
Are drug dealers trying to kill people?
No drug dealers aren’t trying to kill their customers.
As an ex drug dealer that sold cocaine and heroin to support my heroin addiction, we didn’t try to kill people that we sold drugs to. When I was a part of the drug dealing world on the downtown eastside of Vancouver, we would buff drugs as in cutting drugs. This was a way of making your drugs into more drugs. This enables the drug dealer to make more money.
Years ago, we use to use powdered Novocain or sugar to mix cocaine with. Dealing with heroin we would use caffeine pills or powdered methadone so the addicts that smoked heroin wouldn’t know we buffed it. We made 2 to 3 times more money than what we would have if we didn’t mix the drugs. We needed to support our own drug habit.
Now, fentanyl is cheaper than heroin and lasts longer. You only need a little bit to get you high. When drug dealers mix fentanyl with heroin or oxycontin together they can make more drugs. More drugs equal more money.
Drug dealers aren’t chemists. Mixing drugs is like making cookies. When you make chocolate chip cookies, all cookies don’t have the same amount of chocolate chips. Some cookies have more chocolate chips than others.
When a drug dealer is mixing heroin and oxycontin pills together, some drugs will have more fentanyl than others. That’s how people overdose and accidently die. Some heroin or oxycontin have way too much fentanyl than what they are supposed to.
Private Treatment or Drug Testing
How quick can a drug test be done?
Here at Andy Bhatti Interventions & Addiction Services we offer mobile drug testing the same day. If a family is wondering if their loved one is using drugs, or if the drugs they are using are mixed with fentanyl we can help.
People that are looking for private drug and alcohol treatment for their loved one or family member, can also contact us.
Drug & Alcohol Interventions are also another way of prevention from an overdose or death of a loved one.
Andy Bhatti Interventions and Addiction Services also offers emergency interventions for a loved one or a family in crisis and needing help. We can get their loved one into treatment and detox the same day.
For more information on drug and alcohol treatment options, detox, drug testing or a free consultation ?call Andy Bhatti Interventions and Addiction Services at 1-604-309-1573 or toll free at 1-888-963-9116