Fentanyl Detox & Treatment in Quebec
The Current State of Fentanyl Abuse in Quebec
In early 2018, the Montreal Public Health Authority issued a warning after multiple accounts of fentanyl laced cocaine was causing overdose deaths. There is a growing concern in Quebec with fentanyl being found in commonly used street drugs, placing younger drug users at risk. In 2017, fentanyl was being found in intravenous drugs and did cause multiple overdose deaths. The province of Quebec has made naloxone kits available to anyone at pharmacies across the province, to help prevent overdoses and potentially save a life. Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and in 2017, there were numerous deaths among intravenous heroin users using heroin that was laced with fentanyl. However, fentanyl is still a popular drug to be used by heroin addicts in Quebec, particularly Montreal because it is more intense and has a longer-lasting high. Many heroin addicts in Quebec have almost died because fentanyl use and heroin being laced with non-pharmaceutical fentanyl. Much of the current opioid crisis in Quebec and throughout Canada are being driven by fentanyl laced drugs, and a large percentage of accidental overdose deaths in the province occur because of using illicit drugs laced with fentanyl. In February of 2018, in Laval, local police found that carfentanil, a more potent form of fentanyl that is meant to tranquilize elephants, was found on blotting paper that is typically used for LSD. These types of stories are occurring more and more frequently throughout the province, and placing more people at risk. Drug use and abuse are dangerous as it is, and with fentanyl, it will only take a small amount to cause a fatal overdose. Non-pharmaceutical grade fentanyl has spread all throughout Canada, causing an on-going crisis and a growing concern among Canadians.
What is being done in Quebec to help people addicted to opioids such as fentanyl?
Non-pharmaceutical fentanyl is the drug that is made in labs in other countries such as China, and smuggled into the United States. These particular types of fentanyl are far more potent and powerful than pharmaceutical grade fentanyl. Many provinces have taken steps to help stop the importation of these drugs and decrease the amount of prescriptions being given. Opioid addiction is difficult to treat, because most opioid addicts have been abusing drugs for many years and have been through treatment more than once, and struggle with maintaining sobriety. The province of Quebec encourages current drug users to never use alone and when using with others to never all use at the same time. They also remind opioid drug users in the province to have naloxone handy in the event of a drug overdose. Naloxone is available for free at all pharmacies across the province, and can be picked up by anyone who needs it. Other steps such as drug prevention and education are being done to help educate drug users, youth, and families about the dangers. However, drug treatment is the only real solution, and it is important for addicts to find programs that will suit their needs. When treating an opioid addiction, an addict will have to go through a medical detox. Within Quebec are numerous medical detox options, and this is an inpatient process to ensure essential medical supervision is given to addicts going through dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Harm reduction programs in Quebec have always been an on-going strategy, with safe injection sites situated in large cities such as Montreal, where opioid users can safely use their drugs, and have access to Naloxone in the event of an overdose.
How aware are people about the opioid crisis, including fentanyl?
There is over 75 percent of Canadians who are over the age of 18 and are very or somewhat aware of the opioid crisis happening in Canada. In the province of Quebec, over 65 percent of people were aware, and just over 30 percent of the population was unaware of what was happening in the province. Opioid addiction has always been an on-going problem in Quebec, and with the increasing use of fentanyl, the risk involved with using drugs has doubled. Drug prevention and education in Quebec can help raise the awareness of people who do not know how dangerous fentanyl and other similar opioids are. Many of the addicts who experiment with fentanyl are long-term heroin users, but the dose of fentanyl they may be using cannot possibly be known unless it is pharmaceutical or medical grade fentanyl. Opioid addicts can access stolen pharmaceutical fentanyl, and if not that, they are using illegally made fentanyl, and not knowing what the dosage is. Drug awareness is essential helping people not to use drugs, especially among youth. Many drug prevention campaigns in Quebec are developed for youth and young adults, and more information about fentanyl and other similar drugs is being provided.