TORONTO, Jan. 16, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- When synthetic Fentanyl arrived on the streets in 2015, dealers were quick to market their product as top-rate. They offered free samples, inviting would-be customers to test a newly-created batch. They provided top-notch customer service. Soon, business was booming.
The rapidly-growing demand for the powerful drug, often described as 100 times more powerful than morphine, has racked up a staggering death toll across Canada in last 2 years. One dealer's recorded fentanyl sales reveals that they have sold nearly 400 grams of the high-potent synthetic opiate, enough to make roughly a hundred thousand pills.
Drug markets on the web aren't new either, this drug and others are being sold online and shipped by regular mail but despite fears over the nefarious activities happening on the unregulated, virtually untraceable corner of the internet, the majority of the marketplace postings are for small amounts of marijuana, ecstasy, and cocaine.
Opioids like heroin and OxyContin are readily available on the sites, but fentanyl and other "RCs" — short for research chemicals, which usually include drugs that were developed but never meant for human consumption — have quickly found demand on the dark corners of the web.
Since fentanyl first appeared on the market in 2015, The rise of the drug has mirrored a growing crisis across Canada as is in the U.S. and treatment centres like Canadian Addiction Recovery Network are seeing a clear rise in detox and treatment at their centres for this drug.
Statistics on the drug are spotty at best, as health agencies in America and Canada are only now trying to get a handle on the extent of the problem since it has become a clear epidemic.
In Alberta, the provincial health authority reports that the death toll went from 66 in 2013 to 272 two years later. In neighboring British Columbia, fentanyl was implicated in 474 overdoses in 2015, and in 2016 fentanyl proved to be even deadlier; nearly 1000 overdose deaths have been reported for the year, prompting the province to declare a state of emergency.
Scoring fentanyl is proving easier and easier as demand grows across the country.
The fact that fentanyl is so concentrated and easy to transport, by powder, patch, pill, or liquid, makes it all the more attractive to would-be dealers or traffickers.
In Canada, significant quantities are coming into ports from China, where the drug is not controlled by the government. Patches and pills, meanwhile, have been seized at Hells Angels clubhouses in Ontario, suggesting that the biker gang may be doing some of the domestic distribution.
In the United States, speculation has focused on Mexican cartels as being the main pushers from the drug. The Drug Enforcement Agency suspect that the gangs have imported some from China, and made some in their own lab.
The online world, however, has also been moving significant quantities. What's more, it's underscored that the drug can be made relatively easily right here at home. Many dealers are purchasing powder and pressing out hundreds of pills on each order. Each pill contains roughly four to five milligrams of the drug. Doctors say that two milligrams can be enough to kill the average person.
One buyer on the street sold product says, "This stuff almost killed me! I took a very small amount and spent the next 6 days in the hospital."
Sirens scream non-stop through the urban heart of Vancouver, as responders race toward drug addicts overdosing — and dying in such numbers that the city's morgues are full.
This wealthy Pacific coast city is the epicenter of an opioid epidemic that has claimed thousands of lives in Canada, while next door in the United States, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death. The dealers as of late 2016 have now started using Carfentanil which can kill someone with a tiny amount.
"A lot of people here are under care, and targeted by drug dealers," said Neil Arao, manager of Insite, North America's only supervised injection site, located in the DTES. Canadian Addiction Recovery Network is totally against these and other government run harm reduction facilities.
Proposed solutions by Canadian Addiction Recovery Network are that we need the government to make grants available to private addiction treatment centres so they may open up some small centres that may make government sponsored beds available, after all these people have worked front line and know what it takes to make addicts successful in recovery, well a lot more successful than any government run programs or facilities.
The experts and advocates of Canadian Addiction Recovery Network agree, the solution is to reduce the numbers of drug users by solving issues that begin, for most, in a mental breakdown in the individual. It has been made known in the last 2 years that Addiction is a mental health condition brought about by concurrent disorders.
Asked to describe the current opioid epidemic, a spokesperson from Canadian Addiction Recovery Network said "to call it a 'crisis' implies there will be an end, but we are wondering if this is now our normal."
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SOURCE Canadian Addiction Recovery Network