Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid discovered in 1959 by Paul Jansen, and has been used since as an anesthetic, but recently, the drug has been used as an additive with heroin, which has been causing extreme overdoses in Ontario, as well as other parts around the world.
Fentanyl, morphine and heroin are all opioids, and when bound to the Mu Receptor, they release dopamine throughout the body, giving users a relaxed, high feeling. Fentanyl is 40-50x more potent than heroin and 50-100x more potent than morphine.
Fentanyl itself is an extremely dangerous drug that’s on the rise in Ontario, with at least 162 Overdoses in Ontario alone in 2015, which is nearly double than where it stood in 2010. But when mixed with other drugs and chemicals, it can be even more deadly than before…
Bonnie Smith, a physician at Coulter’s Local London Pharmacy says “you never know what you’re going to get when buying Fentanyl on the streets, and that it could be mixed with other potential deadly chemicals…”
Smith also says the ones distributing the drug sometimes aren’t sure what they’re selling…
With the staggering issue abundant all across Canada, some places such as the small town of Sarnia have started Fetanyl Patch Return programs to try and curb abuse, as well as illicit sales of the powerful painkiller. The concept, at its core, requires users of the drug to exchange used patches before getting new ones. Getting high from fentanyl — by smoking, injecting or chewing cut-up pieces — causes the patch to be destroyed.So if patches are missing when a patient goes to renew his or her prescription, it raises a red flag.
Pharmacists then talk to those patients, trying to find out if they’re abusing the drug or selling off patches — valued at about $400 apiece on the street.
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