Fentanyl: A horse of a different colour

by Alex Sherstobitoff

What is Fentanyl?  Where is it coming from?  Why are people dying from it?   Why are people taking it?  Why can’t people just stop taking it?  What can we do?  We do know that Media have identified Fentanyl deaths and suspected Fentanyl deaths throughout BC, Alberta and across Canada.  The recent BC coroner’s report for 2015 states that there were 465 apparent illicit drug overdose deaths in 2015, a 27% increase in deaths from 2014 (366 deaths).  We saw 62 deaths in a period of one month in December 2015.  While the majority of illicit drug overdose deaths do not involve Fentanyl, preliminary data suggests that the proportion of illicit drug overdose deaths for which Fentanyl was detected (alone or in combination with other drugs) increased to approximately 30% in 2015.

In previous years, the proportion was:

  •  2012 = 5%
  •  2013 = 15%
  •  2014 = 25%

At this point it seems Fentanyl is bringing up more questions than answers.

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