“We are losing control”: Super potent, unpredictable street opioids have claimed more lives in Canada

“We are losing control”: Super potent, unpredictable street opioids have claimed more lives in Canada


Edmonton-Thanks to the super potent and deadly mixture of fentanyl, the supply of opioids on the streets of Canada has become more and more toxic, unpredictable and contaminated, which has prompted a renewed call for a safe supply program to help renew Control drug supply and save lives.

It is believed that the pandemic border closures have played a role in disrupting the supply chain, prompting people to create new, more deadly cocktails.

“We absolutely lost control of the drug supply, which caused people to die,” Karen Macdonald, head of the Toronto drug inspection service operated by St. Michael’s Hospital, told CTV National News.

“Fentanyl is safe to use… but if you don’t know how much fentanyl it contains, you can’t use it safely.”

Was launched in 2019 in response to the growing opioid epidemic, Anonymous drug screening service in Toronto Provide drug users with detailed information about the composition of their drugs to reduce drug overdose.

MacDonald said the laboratory has been testing more and more super-potent opioids in recent months—drug mixtures that are believed to be 80-100 times stronger than fentanyl alone, as well as a surge in deaths from suspected overdose. .

Many of these drugs were mixed with opioids synthesized in the 1950s for pain relief, but they were never actually put on the market.

“Fentanyl is already considered a highly effective opioid – it is 5 to 10 times more potent than morphine. What we are seeing now are drugs that are stronger than the fentanyl in fentanyl,” she said .

“The people who will use them are unexpected.”

Fentanyl, cannabis, and methamphetamine use Canadian cities soar According to the Canadian Wastewater Survey by Statistics Canada, the survey analyzed wastewater in major cities at the beginning of the pandemic. Researchers say this may be an important factor in the surge in overdose-related deaths last year.

According to the study, the amount of fentanyl detected in Toronto’s wastewater supply tripled during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. The per capita fentanyl load in Vancouver is more than four times that of any other city, and the detectable load from March to July 2020 has jumped 66% compared to last year.

But the pandemic is not exactly the culprit. Alberta reported as early as 2019 that the number of super-potent opioids has increased, putting McDonald’s and other projects on high alert, and prompting people to call on the government to support regulated safe drug projects.

“Supply is the problem,” McDonald said, noting that this is the nature of unregulated drug supply; for those who are addicted to opioids, there are no recipes and no dosage recommendations.

“Start to introduce some safer opioid programs. This is like a form of regulation. A person who is dependent on opioids will be moved to the street [supply] And the supply of medicines. “

Those living in the reality of opioid dependence also called for increased education and over-training in shelters and other areas frequently used by users.

Angie Austin witnessed the death of a suspected drug overdose with her 16-year partner Oliver Smith in an urban shelter in Toronto.

“I couldn’t feel that there was no air coming out of his mouth, so I started shaking him and told him to wake up,” Austin told CTV National News. “It took 26 minutes for the ambulance to arrive-I timed it.”

Austin said that there was no oxygen available at the scene-some people said it was a factor that could prevent death.

Sarah Grieg, consumer and treatment services project manager at Moss Park in Toronto, told CTV National News: “If people just receive some basic overreaction training and allow you to use oxygen, then we will see much fewer deaths.”

“We also need to obtain a safer supply. Heroin for injection, fentanyl, pharmaceutical-grade recommended doses [of each] In this way, there are no adulterants that pollute and poison people. “

The Toronto shelter does not require on-site oxygen supply, but requires naloxone, a drug used to counteract the effects of opioids. Staff have received training on how to manage naloxone; however, the City of Toronto did not specify whether naloxone was used in Smith’s case.

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