Back in February, I wrote about the alerts and warnings being issued by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) and the Canadian Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use (CCENDU) over the increased availability of fake or counterfeit Oxycodone pills containing illicit Fentanyl, as well as fatal and non-fatal overdoses assumed to be tied to the drug. Unfortunately, the problem has not gotten any better. Fentanyl has affected Canada coast-to-coast, from Vancouver to Halifax, and just about everywhere in between.
"Between 2009 and 2014, there were at least 655 deaths in Canada where fentanyl was determined to be a cause or a contributing cause. This represents an average of one fentanyl- implicated death every three days over this time period. This figure is likely an underestimate." CCENDU Bulletin, August 2015
According to the CCENDU report, Fentanyl has made its way into the Canadian market in two ways. First, domestically through the diversion and sale of prescription Fentanyl (generally transdermal patches). Second, is through the smuggling of Fentanyl and Fentanyl analogues (generally in powdered form) from areas abroad, such as China.
Rather than continue to waste our energy on ineffective and often times harmful drug war tactics, lets move on to saving lives through harm reduction initiatives, shall we?