Turn­ing Point raises aware­ness of opi­oid crisis

The Drumheller Mail - - NEWS - Pa­trick Ko­lafa The Drumheller Mail

While sometimes it feels that Drumheller is in­su­lated from many of the is­sues fac­ing larger cen­tres, how­ever, the very real threat of fen­tanyl can­not be dis­missed as a big city prob­lem.

Last week, Drumheller FCSS part­nered with the Turn­ing Point Society of Cen­tral Al­berta to dis­cuss drug trends and over­dose pro­tec­tion. Sarah Fleck, nurs­ing man­ager for Turn­ing Point says that some of the most harm­ful opi­oids in­clud­ing fen­tanyl and car­fen­tanil are not to be ig­nored.

“We started do­ing over­dose pre­ven­tion work in July of 2015, be­cause we were asked to do that work by Al­berta Health be­cause the opi­oid over­doses were al­ready hap­pen­ing at that time,” said Fleck. “Since that time it has sub­stan­tially in­creased.”

In 2016, there were 349 deaths from ap­par­ent drug over­doses re­lated to fen­tanyl, in­clud­ing 22 cases where car­fen­tanil was in­volved. In the first six weeks of 2017, 51 have per­ished. Fleck said many are sur­prised at how the drugs are get­ting on the street and just how strong and un­pre­dictable they can be.

“When you take a med­i­ca­tion or a pill and you don’t know if there is fen­tanyl in it or not, you have no idea how to dose your­self. That is why over­doses hap­pen re­ally fre­quently,” she said, adding that while a smaller group ac­tively seeks out the drug, many more of­ten don’t even know they are tak­ing it.

“Most peo­ple are choos­ing another drug and it has fen­tanyl in it with­out know­ing,” she said.

Fleck says Al­ber­tans are aware of the crisis. The ses­sion in Drumheller’s goal was to also talk about over­dose pre­ven­tion. “We are get­ting some of the mes­sag­ing out, more peo­ple are aware of where to get nalox­one kits, which is the over­dose med­i­ca­tion which helps tem­po­rar­ily re­verse an over­dose, and more peo­ple are car­ry­ing them. Un­for­tu­nately there seems to still be so much fen­tanyl com­ing across from China and there is so much on the street, the fa­tal­i­ties are not de­creas­ing, they are ac­tu­ally in­creas­ing.”

She said a num­ber peo­ple at the presentation took home nalox­one kits and while they do tar­get high-risk groups, she says the crisis is af­fect­ing peo­ple in all walks of life.

Lo­cally nalox­one kits are avail­able at River­side Value Drug Mart and Shop­pers Drug Mart.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.