Understanding the Fentanyl Crisis & the Signs of Addiction

The fentanyl crisis struck British Columbia and the surrounding areas without warning. Keep in mind that these regions suffered a surge in fentanyl overdoses. There were 42 cases in 2012, but this reached 418 in 2015. According to the Ottawa Public Health, 2016 numbers are not yet available, but they are sure to be higher than last year’s. Sadly, the numbers are not getting any better. You should understand how to recognize this problem, just in case.

How Did The Fentanyl Crisis Begin?

This is a tough question to answer. For one, it should be understood that the person suffering from fentanyl addiction is a victim of the drug’s powerful characteristics, which can cause a person to develop a substance use disorder.

Fentanyl is an opioid that is used as a painkiller. It is quite powerful as it is akin to oxycodone or even morphine. It has been prescribed heavily over the last few years. Statistics show that the amount of prescriptions given out in 2015 would be enough for one in every two Canadians.

A number of community organizations and services in Vancouver have started to respond to the opioid crisis to prevent the number of overdoses from increasing again. Back in November, Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott released a statement to address the opioid crisis with a statement, committing to an action plan that commenced early February in partnership with Health Canada. The plan goes into detail about opening a minimum of eight supervised consumption services in BC. These consumption sites have been proven to become a safe and life-saving resource for community members who use drugs in Vancouver.

Paramedics and fire departments have also started to carry around naloxone kits, a medication which reverses the effects of an opioid such as fentanyl.

Those who were prescribed fentanyl trusted the drug’s safety because it was prescribed. Many became unwillingly addicted once the drug began to interact with the brain’s chemical receptors. The person would have to turn to online suppliers to feed his or her cravings. The safe dosage for this drug is tricky to pinpoint, which makes it quite dangerous.

Recognizing the Signs of Fentanyl Addiction

The following are some of the signs that could be pointing to fentanyl addiction:

  • Spending less time worrying about personal hygiene or nutrition
  • Suffering from hallucinations
  • Engagement in illicit activity such as prescription fraud, doctor-shoppings, or purchasing the drug online
  • Relationships suffer due to the addiction

Of course, these are just some of the signs to look for, but there are others. There is help out there though. Westminster House is a trusted women’s drug rehab centre located just outside of Vancouver. If you suspect that a friend or family member has become addicted to fentanyl, it is of the utmost importance that you talk to our professionals about you or a loved one’s addiction and what they can do to help.