The Counterfeit OxyContin and Fentanyl Pills Are an Epidemic in Canada

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Listen to Gary, one of our many success stories, describe his experience with us:

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It’s a story that gets sadder and more depressing and frustrating every time we hear it. It’s the story of prescription drugs gone wrong, and how they have been manipulated and morphed into something new and far more dangerous. Addict Kayle Best has injected heroin and meth into his arm, smoked crack and overdosed on the prescription drug Dilaudid. But he says that none of those come close to the experience he received from snorting some tiny green pills up his nose. And he says that no other drug in his life has ever caused so much pain and destruction. Best has no doubt in his mind that these pills are an epidemic, and makes no mistake in telling the public just how deadly they can be.

Counterfeit OxyContin, green pills labelled “CDN” on one side and “80” on the other, contain fentanyl, a highly addictive opiate. On the streets of Saskatoon, they are known as “greens,” and they are deadly.
The pills have been associated with at least two deaths in the city in the last month. According to Best, those deaths are not the only ones. In the last year, he said he personally knows at least seven other people who overdosed and died on the fentanyl pills. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the pills are 80 times as potent as morphine and hundreds of times more potent than heroin.

According to Mr. Best, “everyone is doing these pills”. He even pointed out that young teens in Grade 9 even were abusing them, and to that he simply said “It’s just insane”. Best first discovered these pills on the street five years ago, and they were labeled as counterfeit oxyContin. The drugs don’t even contain OxyContin, and are much more dangerous and powerful than any legal prescription. Best said that he and his girlfriend were snorting 20 pills a day, at $40 per pill. Their habit cost upwards of $1,000 a day and they resorted to theft from their parents as well as from strangers on the street in order to feed the habit. “I was running with a pellet gun, jacking kids for weed to maintain my pill habit. It was the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen,” he said.

As sad as this story is, it isn’t a unique one to Canada. According to statistics from the Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey, 243,000 Canadians reported abusing opiates in 2012. It was also reported that in 2010 nearly one of every eight deaths of adults between the ages of 25 and 34 in Ontario were related to opioid use.

The problem is so wide-spread that young children are becoming hooked on these pills as low as grade 8. The most frustrating part is figuring out what to do about the issue. Perhaps it is time that high schools start teaching in specific courses the dangers of drug use and abuse, and presenting kids with the facts they need to prevent them from getting involved with such dangerous and unpredictable chemicals. Education has to be key in dealing with the young drug market, because it can’t all be left to the police, for instance, to stamp out a problem that is growing more and more deadly by the day.

 

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Sobriety Foundation

The Counterfeit OxyContin and Fentanyl Pills Are an Epidemic in Canada

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