How Users are Unknowingly Taking Fentanyl

How Users are Unknowingly Taking Fentanyl

The Fentanyl Crisis

When I do interventions, it often includes the client taking a urine test to determine what drugs are in their system. Lots of times people are surprised when they test positive for fentanyl, because they never knowingly took it.

It’s a scary drug — an opiate painkiller said to be up to 100 times more potent than morphine, with the potential to cause immediate death. How could anyone have it in their system and not know?

These days, fentanyl is in everything. Every drug that can be bought on the street, from cocaine to Xanax to Oxycontin is often laced with fentanyl. It’s cheaper than heroin and highly addictive, so a dealer can make more money by selling drugs cut with it; drugs that are made in home labs and look identical to the real thing. Two out of three of my clients think they are doing heroin or Oxycontin and later find out they were actually doing fentanyl.

The Addiction Crisis

Opioid addiction is a health crisis in Canada, no doubt about it. In Vancouver last year alone, there were more than 900 opioid-related deaths, and hundreds more across the rest of the country, including 20 in Newfoundland and Labrador. I can tell you that these numbers are increasing and will further increase as fentanyl becomes more prominent on the street, whether a person actively chooses to take it or not. We’re seeing new drugs all the time; things like W18, a new opioid considered to be up to 10,000 times more potent than morphine, believe it or not, and Lean, a candy-flavoured drink based on prescription cough syrup with added codeine, fentanyl and pop.

The Consequences

It’s not just drug addicts who are dying — casual users are also at risk. Even people who are aware they’re using fentanyl and think they’re immune could die at any moment.

The particular danger comes down to how these drugs are made, and I like to use a cookie analogy to explain it: if you’re baking chocolate chip cookies, each one will have a different number of chips, since it’s not an exact science. It’s the same with these drugs. One pill might not kill you, but the next one might.

The lack of doctors prescribing opioid addiction treatments like methadone and suboxone is an issue when it comes to people kicking their drug addiction, and it’s a problem across the country. Most clinics have a wait list, and no addict is going to stop doing the drugs and deal with the withdrawal symptoms while waiting three weeks to get in. I spent 12 years as a heroin addict, and I can attest to how hard it is to quit opioids; sometimes I wanted to quit but the wait time to get into a treatment centre made it seem easier to stay on drugs and wait until I ended up in jail. I finally had an intervention myself, thanks to a nurse while I was in jail in Vancouver. It saved my life, and I’ve been clean for more than 10 years.

Get Help For Your Loved One

As a trained and certified drug and alcohol interventionist and recovery coach based mainly in Vancouver and Calgary, I offer emergency interventions as well as mobile same-day drug testing. I can help you or your loved one get into medically-supported detox and treatment right away. I can work with you and your family to choose the best and right facility in Canada where the addiction is treated alongside its underlying causes, which might include post-traumatic stress, depression, grief, anxiety and childhood abuse. Many times, I’ll bring a Calgary client to a drug and alcohol treatment centre in Vancouver, away from temptation and the struggles of their regular life. My approach is customized to the client’s needs.

Last year, my qualified team and I performed 16 drug and alcohol interventions in Vancouver and 25 in Calgary, as well as interventions in Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador. I’ve been as far as Malaysia, helping drug users detox and stay clean.

In the past three years, my team and I have performed more than 150 drug and alcohol interventions in total, and I’m proud to say we have a high success rate in getting our clients in treatment. The vast majority of them entered a treatment facility the very same day we intervened.

Studies have proven interventions to be the safest approach in getting help for a person with a drug addiction, and are more successful in terms of the keeping the person away from drugs for good. Call me today for a free consultation.

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