Fentanyl Detox & Treatment in Manitoba
The Current State of Fentanyl in Manitoba
The province of Manitoba has been facing its own crisis with fentanyl and between January and November of 2016, for example, two dozen people died in the province because of fentanyl. Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more toxic than morphine, and the drug has impacted people and taken lives within all age groups. Many of those who die from fentanyl do so because the drug was found in the drugs they were using such as cocaine. Opioids are a problem all throughout the province, and in the larger cities such as Winnipeg. In 2016, there were over 60 deaths connected to fentanyl, and from January to March in 2017, there were close to 30 fentanyl-related deaths in the province. Many people in the province are concerned about fentanyl, and first responders and health care professionals want people to be informed. There are some key messages that people should be aware of when it concerns fentanyl, and that is it's a dangerous drug, and it only takes a small amount to cause an overdose or death. Fentanyl is very often added to other drugs without the person’s knowledge, who is using them. It is impossible for a person who uses drugs to know what is in the drugs, and odds are the dealer will have no idea what is in the drugs. The illegally produced street fentanyl is far more potent than pharmaceutical grade fentanyl, and the dose that is sold is impossible to know. People in Manitoba will use drugs for various reasons, but what they don’t see may end up killing them, but like any other drug problem a person can recover from an addiction, and with the help of Naloxone, can possibly be saved from an overdose.
What do youth and families need to know about fentanyl in Manitoba?
Throughout the province of Manitoba, families and youth can find and attend community forums about fentanyl. In 2017, for example, the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba organized community forums throughout the province to inform families and youth about the dangers of fentanyl. The primary message is that fentanyl, and other similar drugs are dangerous, and it does not take a large amount to kill a person. Illegally produced fentanyl is being made in labs in China, and being smuggled into North America. Non-pharmaceutical grade fentanyl is far more potent, and is being cut into other drugs such as cocaine, meth, marijuana, and various club drugs. The average person who dies from a fentanyl-related death is often someone who has been using drugs for two to five years, and simply taken a drug that was laced with fentanyl. It is difficult to watch a loved one struggle with an addiction, and opioid addictions are quite destructive. Naloxone has been a useful tool to help save lives and ensure an addict has an opportunity to make it to treatment t. Naloxone is a medication that will reverse the overdose with only opioids such as fentanyl. The province of Manitoba has taken every step to ensure naloxone is accessible, and current opioid addicts have access to this in the event of an emergency. These types of preventive measure and drug education will help save lives.
The Manitoba Opioid Crisis
The current problem with opioids such as fentanyl in Manitoba has brought up more talk about safe injection sites. According to government data that was released, in Manitoba, a person will overdose from opioids every three days, and in 2017 the opioid-related overdose deaths rose to up over 120, and this did include fentanyl. This data also indicated that over 80 of these deaths were accidental, and under half of these deaths in Manitoba involved fentanyl. Unfortunately, close to 60 percent of the people who die from an accidental overdose are between the ages of 20 and 40. Many people who work in the field of addiction or helping people who are addicted to drugs feels these numbers will get worse as the year’s progress. It is a growing problem in the province that is impacting all urban and rural communities, and people of all walks of life. Many of the frontline workers in the province who are witnessing these people die, feel supervised injection sites are needed, and can help people who are addicted to drugs prevent overdose or at least get pointed in the right direction for help. Rapid Addictions Medicine clinics are available in cities like Winnipeg, and do help patients with the initial care they need and placing them in contact with addiction specialists. Treatment is the key, but many provinces such as Manitoba are pushing for more prevention such as safe injection sites.