Last week, the Fraser Health Authority in Canada issued a warning that fentanyl was popping up in crack cocaine - a trend that was recognized after 43 crack cocaine users overdosed within a period of only 48 hours in Surrey. This is the first time that the fentanyl and crack cocaine combination has been seen.
As a result, there has been a surge in the demand for Naloxone, the drug that is administered to users who overdose on fentanyl. And what’s worse is that, because the drug cocktail is so strong, multiple doses of Naloxone may be necessary in order to bring someone down from an overdose.
Currently on the market are “take-home” Naloxone kits, a business that has been doing exceedingly well in light of the uptick in fentanyl use. Fraser Health has confirmed that it had administered nearly 860 take-home kits during the majority of the first half of this year.
Scary enough, while the mixture of stimulants and depressants is a strong mixture typically compared to the “speedball” that killed actor John Belushi back in 1982 (said speedball being a combination of heroin and cocaine), today’s fentanyl is said to be hundreds of times stronger than heroin.
The combination of fentanyl with cocaine can seriously destroy your body, what with the cocaine making you feel awake when you may not actually be awake, and then the fentanyl in and slams you back down again - the result of which causes your respiratory system to simply shut down.
Federal lawmakers are doing what they can to intervene, including debating on whether or not supervised injection sites are worth supporting. While some are for the idea, others think it may not be the most helpful thing in the world because a) it encourages continued drug abuse, and b) because if fentanyl combinations are sold on the street in pill form, then what good would a supervised injection site do?
While the term “supervised injection site” sounds like someone is watching over the particular area of your body that you choose to stick, the term actually refers to legally-sanctioned and medically supervised facilities which are designed to provide a hygienic and safe environment where drug users can go to shoot up recreational drugs instead of taking their drugs in public places.
Supervised injection sites are part of what is called “harm reduction.” Harm reduction are designed to better manage debaucherous behaviors like recreational drug use and what could be potentially unsafe sexual activity.
While some are against harm reduction measures because they feel it sends a message that such behaviors are acceptable in society, some of these measures (like the supervised injection sites) come with major benefits, such as the reduction of diseases (like HIV and Hepatitis C) that are transmitted through the use of dirty needles because intravenous drug users are not sharing needles between themselves but are instead obtaining clean needles from these clinics.
The “designated driver” initiative, as well as programs that provide free taxis, are also harm reduction techniques aimed at minimizing the chances that people will end up driving while drunk or otherwise intoxicated.