Fentanyl Detox & Treatment in Alberta
The Current State of Fentanyl Abuse and Overdose in Alberta
The Alberta government formally responded in March of 2015 to the increased rise in opioid-related deaths within the province. By October of 2016, the Office of the Chief medical Officer of Health began in implement new programs to help combat the growing rate of overdose deaths. The deaths involving fentanyl in 2015 were around 250; in 2016, the number grew to 348 within the year, and by 2017, over 560 people had died from using fentanyl or a drug that had fentanyl in it. The Alberta government created an Opioid Emergency Response Commission in May of 2017, and the commission began to focus on harm reduction, treatment, prevention, enforcement, collaboration, and analytics, but unfortunately the fentanyl-related deaths have continued to rise, but at a much slower rate as of 2018. By the spring time of 2018 in Alberta, the number of deaths related to fentanyl has reached over 300, and many experts believe at this rate; 2018 will see over 600 deaths connected to fentanyl. Medical professionals in the field working with addicts in Alberta and people impacted by fentanyl believe that the current faster and improved treatment response, and targeted law enforcement is having an effect, but it is much too early to know if this will slow the amount deaths from fentanyl. Currently within Alberta, more people are seeking out treatment, there are more naloxone kits being distributed, and the supply of illegal opioids has decreased slightly. Naloxone has been a life-saving drug for many addicts in Alberta, and naloxone kits have been distributed and made for easy access anywhere that fentanyl or any other type of opioid may be used.
What is fentanyl and why do people use it in Alberta?
Fentanyl is an opioid that has been used for the treatment of pain for quite some time, however; like most prescription opioids, someone found a way to sell the drug illegally. Other forms of fentanyl that is made in a lab are an illegal high concentration, and this is trafficked into Alberta from China by way of British Columbia. Fentanyl is a powerful drug that can be 50 to 100 times more toxic then morphine. It is not that the average opiate addict in Alberta chooses to use fentanyl; the drug is being found in other drugs such as club drugs, cocaine, crystal meth and marijuana. Fentanyl is also being mixed in with OxyContin and sold as fake oxys, and many opiate addicts in Alberta are unaware that they are taking fentanyl until it is too late. There are many reasons why someone would choose to use drugs, but the majority of overdose deaths in Alberta are because the drugs the addict was taking, had a potent dose of fentanyl in it. Opioid addiction can start quite easily, and many addicts in Alberta were prescribed opioids and eventually became dependent, which led to an addiction. Fentanyl is a dangerous drug, and an overdose death can be avoided. The best course of action is to get treatment, but if someone does choose to use illegal drugs, make sure you are not alone, there is a plan in place if something goes wrong, and dial 911 in the event of an overdose.
What cities in Alberta have seen the most fentanyl-related deaths?
As of May, in 2018, the city of Red Deer in Alberta has the highest fentanyl related deaths with 10 deaths within the first three months of 2018. In the first quarter of 2018, there were over 130 deaths related to fentanyl in Alberta, and Red Deer, Lethbridge, Calgary and Edmonton have the most fentanyl-related deaths in 2018. Within all of these cities are drug treatment services, and services that provide access for naloxone kits and naloxone kits are being distrusted to places that need them. Fentanyl deaths can be avoided if addicts are able to seek out help and get the treatment they need. Because most drugs are so powerfully addictive, most addicts will not get the help they need, and it may be too late.
Where is drug rehab located in Alberta to help people who use fentanyl or other opioids?
Drug treatment programs are situated all across the province, and the Alberta Health Services offices in the province can help addicts, and their families locate the best possible treatment options. Opioid addiction must be treated with a medical detox, and this is to help an addict go through the symptoms of withdrawal under the supervision of qualified professionals. Medical detox can last a week or more, but is an essential first step when treating an addiction to opioids. After detox, an addict should transition into an inpatient drug treatment center, or some type of drug rehabilitation program in Alberta. Drug rehab is important because it will look at and treat the underlying problems connected to the addiction. Physical and psychological treatment is important for an addict to completely overcome an addiction to opioids.