This article was published on November 21st, 2016
There is a crisis on our hands and its time to roll up our sleeves and do what we do best, tackle it head on. Like or not, the gay community are heavy drug users, especially those who circuit. A huge number of gay men enjoy partaking and dabbling in recreational drugs. While there is no judging or drawing a conclusion on this, it is important to talk about the increase of these drugs being laced with Fentanyl. It can kill you!
Fentanyl is a synthetic painkiller estimated to be at least 80 times more powerful than morphine and hundred of times more powerful than heroin. It is incredibly addictive and the reason for its booming popularity is that a minuscule amount can deliver a heroin like high. It takes very little set up to begin producing and the return is enormous. It has revolutionised the illegal drug trade and in about five years has become the most lucrative drug on the market. Mass manufactured and able to order with door to door delivery makes it an incredibly accessible drug and, although the bulk of its popularity comes from those with painkiller dependencies, it has become the go to drug of choice for dealers when cutting recreational drugs.
The problem with Fentanyl lies in its potency; due to the sheer strength of it doctors only prescribe it to patients who have used opioids before (opiate based painkillers) because you need a significant level of tolerance to be able to handle it. Being 100 times more toxic than morphine it has an incredibly small margin of error and this makes cutting other drugs with it phenomenally dangerous .It is estimated that 25% of overdoses last year involves Fentanyl which is significantly higher then the 5% estimate only 3 years earlier. In Alberta alone last year 120 people died after ingesting fentanyl and January to August saw 488 deaths from overdose in BC alone, a 61.6% increase from the same time period last year.
So what can you do to keep yourself and you friends safe?
In all honesty, this drug is an entirely new ball game. It is changing the face of recreational drugs and is a whole new level of dangerous to what has seen before. Now is a serious time to honestly consider taking a break from party drugs.
For those who do want to carry on; firstly, use testing kits available at many specialty clinics or can easily be discretely ordered online to check that your recreational drugs are safe to consume.
Second, if you or your friends are going to be using street drugs, get a Naloxone kit, and learn how to administer the Fentanyl antidote. This could save your life, or the life of your friend or friends. Easy to administer, Naloxone takes effect immediately and can reverse the effects of Fentanyl until first responders arrive.
Third, know and understand the symptoms of an overdose. If you see someone getting nauseas, vomiting, dizzy, drowsy or losing their balance, call 911 immediately and don’t leave them alone. Know basic first aid and overdose symptoms and make sure you are prepared! First responders have been incredible in dealing with this crisis, their work in saving out lives and the lives of our friends shows no bounds and their focus on being trained, aware and educating is one of the greatest steps anyone has taken in dealing with this crisis.
It’s time to get on board as well. The community needs to put pressure on governments to step up and take action now. It’s a serious crisis on our hands and the LGBT community, which is near the top of the high risk charts, need assistance in dealing with it. Fentanyl is a major issues and it’s important not to lose members of our community to it.
Learn more about the fentanyl crisis in British Columbia through a Global TV interview with Premier Christy Clark, who is said to have ‘blood on her hands’ for not doing enough to combat the opioid public health crisis in B.C.
Do you think authorities are taking the right steps to get the fentanyl crisis under control? What are your biggest fears or concerns? What do you think should be done to save lives? Leave you comments below.