Fentanyl Detox & Treatment in Saskatchewan
What the Saskatchewan population has Experienced
Fentanyl abuse and addiction in Saskatchewan is directly related to it being the 2nd highest province for fentanyl prescriptions, according to data published in 2017. In 2017, the pharmacists in the province dispensed more fentanyl than any other province within the country. Much of this problem does stem from patients not necessarily having access to specialized or multi disciplinary services that can help treat pain. Pain management is difficult, and the quick and easiest solution is a prescription pain medication, but unfortunately, these drugs were not meant for long-term use. Pain medication should be used as a last resort, but patients rely on these drugs, and doctors continually prescribe them as the first treatment option. Many experts feel that exercise, massage, and physio should happen first, but there are also chronic pain cases such as those who are struggling with cancer, which require a different treatment approach. However, the gap between patients and alternative pain management options in Saskatchewan was growing larger. People can become addicted to and dependent on these drugs, and this is because the body will develop a tolerance, and will also experience withdrawals. Dependency can lead to an addiction easily if the patient continues to use the drug, or misuses it to escape reality. Opioid addiction is difficult to treat, and illegally produced fentanyl will cause an overdose and even death. In 2016, the province of Saskatchewan dispensed over 22 prescriptions per 1000 people, and this number was, in fact, down from previous years.
Is fentanyl a problem in Saskatchewan?
Statistically, fentanyl is not as a big of a problem in Saskatchewan as it is in other provinces, but fentanyl patches are still be sold illegally and illegally produced fentanyl is at the same time being found and confiscated. In 2018, drugs that contain both fentanyl and carfentanil are being seized routinely, but are being found in cocaine, meth, and marijuana that are being seized. The RCMP believes that these types of drugs are still circulating throughout Saskatchewan, and this can be the direct cause for an overdose, when an addict uses a drug, they believe does not have fentanyl in it. The Saskatchewan Health Authority continually encourages at-risk individuals who use these types of drugs to get the proper education and prevention information, they need to prevent an overdose. In the event of an opioid overdose, a naloxone kit will save lives, and take home naloxone kits are free to people who are at-risk, such as opioid drug users. Naloxone is designed to temporarily restore breathing and consciousness, allowing first responders to administer the proper help. Opioid abuse and addiction are a problem that many people in Saskatchewan struggle with, and when fentanyl is being discovered in common drugs, it increases the risk for drug users. An overdose can happen easily, especially if the drug user does not use opioids, and there is a fatal dose of fentanyl in the drugs they are using.
How does someone stay safe and aware with fentanyl?
Because illegally produced fentanyl can be found in all different types of illicit drugs, it is important to not only know how to stay away from drugs, but also how to recognize a problem if you choose to use drugs. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, and is made to treat pain, but since 2012 illegally made fentanyl, that is produced in labs in China is being found all throughout Canada. This particular type of fentanyl is far more potent and stronger than pharmaceutical grade. However, pharmaceutical grade fentanyl is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine, and is given to a patient who has a tolerance for all other brands of opioids. The use of illegally made fentanyl has become a major health crisis all throughout Canada, and impacting provinces like Saskatchewan. A person can be exposed to fentanyl in many different ways, and it can appear in distinct forms. Opioid drug users are at a higher risk for an overdose caused by fentanyl, because it can be found in tablets and capsules, as a powder, dissolved in a liquid, placed on blotter paper or as a nasal spray. Unintended exposure to fentanyl is the leading reasons why so many have died from an overdose. The physical signs and symptoms associated with exposure to fentanyl include pinpoint pupils, shallow breathing, bluish skin on lips and fingernails, slow heart rate, cold and clammy skin, sleepiness and drowsiness, and disorientation. Many overdoses can be prevented, especially with access to naloxone kits, which will help save someone from a drug overdose from fentanyl. The fentanyl crisis is still happening all throughout Canada, and local and provincial authorities are doing what they can to help stop the spread of the drug and save people from becoming addicted to these dangerous substances.