Fentanyl Detox & Treatment in Newfoundland
The Current State of Fentanyl use in Newfoundland and Labrador
The provincial government and the St. John’s Community Action Group on fentanyl launched a harm-reduction program in 2018 to reduce opioid overdose and the spread of disease through needles. The province has installed metal sharp kiosks and several smaller metal sharp's boxes at all public locations in St. John’s to help with the safe disposal of needles. These harm-reduction programs that are led by the St. John’s community action group are a partnership between Health and Community Services, the City of St. John’s, Eastern Health, and many other community outreach organizations. Opioid use and addiction and the use of fentanyl are a common problem throughout the Maritimes. The goal of the St. Johns Community Action Groups is to help increase the awareness on fentanyl to help reduce the risk of overdose and increase the access to naloxone. In 2017, outreach workers and addiction workers knew the day would come when fentanyl would turn up in Newfoundland and Labrador. Fentanyl is 100 times more powerful than morphine, and in April of 2017 Eastern Health revealed that fentanyl was responsible for 15 overdose deaths, and within months the number increased to 18. In 2013, fentanyl was responsible for two deaths, and in 2014 the drug was responsible for four deaths. With such a long history of opioid abuse and addiction in the Maritimes, many of these types of opioid deaths can be traced back to the late 1990s. In August of 2016, the Newfoundland and Labrador government supplied 1200 naloxone kits, that were available for free of charge. Drug raids in 2016, turned-up powder heroin that did, in fact, contain fentanyl, and RCMP were already aware that fentanyl would be turning up in the province.
Fentanyl Followed the Same Path as Other Opioids Entering the Province
Between 2015 and 2017 in Newfoundland and Labrador, there were numerous arrest and drug raids done that found many opioid substances that contained fentanyl. In January 2017, contraband pills that were made to look like OxyContin were discovered in parts of Newfoundland, and the RCMP was warning citizens that these pills did contain fentanyl. In April of 2017, fentanyl was responsible for 15 overdose deaths, and the medical staff at hospitals believed that fentanyl was mixed in with heroin that was being used by these drug addicts, and many other cases involved cocaine and Percocet. Opioids in the Maritimes are continually responsible for crime, addiction, and death, and lately this can be linked to fentanyl being found in heroin, cocaine, Percocet, and other type of illicit drugs. By the end of 2017, the province and Newfoundland and Labrador saw 23 people die because of fentanyl, and 57 people were admitted to hospitals because of opioid-related problems. Unfortunately, many of the overdoses that happen within the province cannot always be tracked because many will have naloxone available, but will not call 911 after. The harm-reduction programs, clean needles, and naloxone kits have been helping people, but opioid addiction and use of fentanyl are an on-going problem within the province.
Cocaine and Heroin are Becoming More Common in Newfoundland and Labrador
The police in the province have indicated that many prescription medications are being abused on the street that was not typically abused before. Currently, cocaine is one of the most popular drugs in the province, and unfortunately; cocaine can be laced with fentanyl, along with other drugs such as heroin. Many drug addicts end up suffering from an overdose because of illicit drugs being laced with fentanyl. The province of Newfoundland is also working to curb the questionable prescribing of opioids and prevent people from visiting multiple doctors. Doctor shopping is a common way for addicts to get the drugs they need, with tricking prescribing doctors that they need help. Commonly abused illicit drugs and prescription drugs are responsible for countless addictions throughout the province, but there are drug treatment options and detox programs, along with family support services to help people. Throughout the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, addicts can access inpatient and outpatient drug rehab services and medical detox programs to help addicts who are using fentanyl. Medical detox programs will help an addict safely withdrawal from the drug and manage the withdrawal pains. After detox, an addict should go into a drug treatment program to address the underlying issues connected with the addiction. Fentanyl is a dangerous drug that is being found in so many types of illicit drugs, and if a person does choose to use drugs, they should be aware of the possible risks involved. Local authorities in Newfoundland and Labrador are taking steps to help spread the proper information about the drug. Harm reduction programs and drug treatment options are viable choices to help addicts and prevent the spread of disease, and stop overdoes caused by fentanyl from happening.