Pubdate: Fri, 06 Jul 2012
Source: London Free Press (CN ON)
Copyright: 2012 The London Free Press
Author: Randy Richmond


DRUGS: There's bad crystal meth and heavily cut heroin on London's streets

A bad batch of crystal meth and a supply of heavily cut heroin has 
addiction workers worried that London's changing drug scene could 
claim victims right away.

"There's bad meth out there that might be associated with one death 
(on the weekend), and maybe one near death," Cass Wender, 
transitional support worker at My Sisters' Place, said.

Meanwhile, the heroin coming into London is heavily cut.

The heroin is so heavily cut that it takes three to four points, 
about 4/10th of a gram, to get a high, Keri Death-Wheatley, a peer 
support worker at the city's needle exchange, added.

She fears that when a purer supply hits the street, London's 
inexperienced heroin users "will think it's the same and overdose."

The change in the city's drug scene comes after Purdue Pharma, the 
maker of Oxycontin, introduced OxyNEO as a replacement painkiller to 
Canada in March. Crushed, melted and snorted or injected, Oxycontin 
had become the drug of choice for thousands of addicts in London. The 
OxyNEO tablets are harder to crush and when heated and dissolved in 
water turn into an unusable gel.

As police and addiction workers predicted, the new Oxy is forcing 
addicts to find something else.

Heroin, hydromorphone and crystal meth are filling the vacuum, 
addiction workers say.

Crystal meth and heroin especially worry counsellors.

Crystal meth sparks a psychosis that turns people extremely paranoid, 
aggressive, delusional, fearful -- difficult if not impossible to 
help at that moment, Wender said.

"Crystal meth is cost effective. You get a bigger high (than 
traditional speed). It keeps you going longer. It is also more 
difficult to come down. Nothing brings you down but time."

Crystal meth has an inherent danger heroin does not, its easy 
availability, Wender added.

"If heroin is out there, it's out there. If not, it's not. Crystal 
meth can be made locally, in large amounts or in smaller amounts."

Death-Wheatley is a former addict who used both heroin and Oxys.

She dreads what could happen in a city that has avoided a large-scale 
invasion of heroin in the past.

"We will have a lot more problems. Once you do heroin, there is 
really no going back to any other drug. None of the other drugs do 
anything anymore."
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