A pilot project operated by Vancouver Coastal Health has found success
with a simple detection strip for the notorious opioid
Drug users who test their drugs and discover fentanyl are 10 times
more likely to reduce their dose, raising the possibility that making
such tests widely available could reduce overdoses.
That is one finding of a drug checking pilot project at Insite,
Vancouver's supervised-injection site, operated by Vancouver Coastal
Health (VCH). Launched last July, the initiative offers drug users the
option of testing their drugs for fentanyl using a simple test strip,
which produces results in seconds.
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A safe-injection site could be coming to Medicine Hat.
Though still early in the process, HIV Community Link executive
director Leslie Hill says this is something communities around Alberta
could be seeing over the course of the next year or so.
"Right now we have a researcher in Medicine Hat working on creating a
survey to get to drug users," she said. "We are doing this in response
to a rise in opioid use across the province and we are trying to be
proactive with this."
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How drug units deal with fentanyl
The death toll for fentanyl continues to rise in 2017, with nearly
double the number of deaths being reported in the first six weeks of
According to Health Canada, from Jan. 1 to Feb, 11, 51 people died
from overdosing on fentanyl. In 2016 during the same six weeks, 28
Albertans died as a result of a fentanyl overdose.
The drug was first found in St. Albert in 2014 and since then the St.
Albert RCMP's drug unit said that currently there is at least one pill
found in around 80 per cent of their overall drug cases.
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WATERLOO REGION - Five years ago, local paramedics responded to one
opioid overdose a week.
Now the rate is almost two overdoses every day.
"Where does it end?" says Robert Crossan, deputy chief of the Region
of Waterloo Paramedic Services.
The drug at the core of the crisis is fentanyl - a painkiller 80 times
stronger than morphine.
It's a pain medication prescribed and taken by patients through
But 'bootleg' fentanyl is coming in from China, and trace amounts - as
small as grains of salt - are being mixed with heroin and cocaine sold
on the streets.
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The members of the Middlesex-London Board of Health endorsed Thursday
evening a motion to take the "next steps" to set up a
supervised-injection site for drug users in London.
That essentially means determining what the method will be for moving
forward with the project. As part of that, there will be a public
consultation before setting up any such site, including talking to the
people in the chosen neighbourhood, including residents and business.
The first part of the three-pronged motion covered accepting a
feasibility study. Dr. Gayanne Hovhannisyan, the acting medical
officer of health, led the discussion.
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On Tuesday (February 21), exactly 914 feathers will hang from the
trees in Oppenheimer Park.
They will symbolize the 914 people who died of an illicit-drug
overdose in B.C. in 2016. The feathers will be carved out of wood and
as many as possible will bear the name of somebody who died after
The Vancouver demonstration is part of a national day of action that
is so far planned for seven cities across Canada. In B.C., events are
also planned for Victoria and Nanaimo.
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WATERLOO REGION - A group of parents sit around a small table. Their
eyes are red from crying.
Nearby are framed photos of the children they have lost to drug
overdoses. Among them are Iain Goddard, Brittany Cobbing and Austin
Janice Walsh-Goddard didn't even know what fentanyl was when she heard
it killed her son.
Iain Goddard died last May while Janice was in England on vacation.
She got the call on the last day of her weeklong trip.
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In the late 1990s, Sam Sullivan, today the Liberal MLA for
Vancouver-False Creek, paid for a 20-year-old sex worker's heroin
habit for a period of three weeks.
He was a city councillor at the time. The story was front-page news in
2005, when Sullivan made a successful run for mayor. During the
campaign, he refused to apologize for helping the girl purchase drugs.
"I had become very angry with a society that would let this lovely
young woman degrade herself because our morals wouldn't allow us to
accept where she was and help her try to move past it without
destroying her life in the process," Sullivan told the Vancouver
Courier that year.
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A startling dissection of drug use in London - with the personal
illnesses and public ills exposed - has laid on the table a compelling
case for a supervised injection site in the city.
But the sticky questions of exactly where the site or sites should go,
whether the city can take the other steps necessary to make a site
worthwhile, and how crystal meth and fentanyl will play a role remain
The lead researcher of a study on providing supervised injection in
London did have one answer for residents still questioning the sanity
of giving people a place to inject their illicit drugs.
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Amid rising HIV rates and an entrenched needle culture, London
researchers will unveil Wednesday a study on the value of a supervised
injection site in the city.
Researchers interviewed 200 people who are or were injection drug
users to assess people's willingness to use the sites and about 20
representatives from health care, law enforcement, government and
community organizations to get feedback.
"There are several general recommendations based on the results of the
study," but no specific direction to any agency or organization,
Western University researcher Ayden Scheim said Monday.
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Finally some good news related to fentanyl.
That is, there's now less of the deadly filth on the streets, since
the Surrey RCMP recently busted three suspects and seized thousands of
doses of illegal drugs.
An investigation was launched in November that focused on drug
traffickers supplying addicts on 135A Street.
Police raids in January removed 4,140 doses of suspected
heroin/fentanyl, 521 doses of methamphetamine and 410 doses of crack
It's no secret what a horrible toll deadly opioids like fentanyl have
taken on our local streets, particularly that forsaken strip of road
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Calling someone a junkie was once the norm, but many people who use
illicit drugs and those who treat them say the word addict is just as
At the Crosstown Clinic, which provides pharmaceutical heroin
treatment for people hooked on the opioid, someone has crossed out
"addicts" on a notice posted by a group called the Addicts Union and
Dr. Scott MacDonald, lead physician at Crosstown, said the Diagnostic
Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders no longer lists the term addict.
[continues 519 words]
Reducing demand for harmful drugs, working with St. Paul's Hospital to
help people with mental health issues and making better use of
technology are just three of the Vancouver Police Department's goals
for the next five years.
On Monday morning, Chief Const. Adam Palmer revealed the department's
new five-year strategic plan. By focusing on the things that make
people feel unsafe, the department recognizes that there are a myriad
When a reporter at the press conference mentioned the "war on drugs",
Palmer said that is an American term that no police departments in
[continues 410 words]
I think the development of more powerful street drugs (i.e. fentanyl,
meth, etc.) of course is driven by the profits available for cheaper more
powerful lethal drugs. I think it may be time to look at legalizing drugs
so we can better control them.
Drugs at one time in world history were legal and the use of them was far
less widespread. Coca Cola at one time contained cocaine (hence the name
The consumption of alcohol during Prohibition was far more widespread than
when it was legal. There were many deaths from badly produced by
unregulated producers of alcohol or antifreeze-laced cocktails. The growth
of gangland crime and political corruption was rampant.
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I spent Christmas 2015 sitting at my kitchen table, smartphone in
hand, tracking overdose deaths across Greater Victoria. Eight people
had died in seven days, three in the preceding 24 hours. Two of them
died on the street, one in a parkade, the rest at home. This included
Miranda, the 22-year-old daughter of one of my co-workers at the
Victoria Police Department. She died in her bedroom a few hours after
opening Christmas presents with her mom and stepdad.
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Arguing that smoking dope is safer than drinking booze is akin to
stating that getting shot in the leg is preferable to taking one in
Yet that's the argument often used by pro-pot crusaders, as we debate
the minutiae about what age should Canadians be allowed to legally buy
weed. Well, folks, kids can already get a hold of dope with little
Don't get me wrong; let's legalize the stuff. In fact, we should
decriminalize every other drug, because the entire campaign to treat
addiction as a matter of legality rather than mental health is among
the deadliest and costliest exercises society has tried.
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I believe that people who own houses in Vancouver, or anywhere in
Canada should not pay extra taxes due to a fentanyl crisis.
Has the government actually gone door-to-door to ask people/homeowners
if it's OK to raise taxes for this crisis?
To me it's a way to support the addicts to keep them supplied with
this crisis instead of the government actually looking at the real
problem. The government is supplying the addicts with clean needles
and supplies to keep them going with their addictions and not helping
with the problem. They are saying it's OK to do heroin, cocaine and
meth by supplying them with the needles and help kits.
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Hospital should own its role, and help foot bill, in fallout from
faulty drug tests, CAS head says
Children's aid societies are calling on the Hospital for Sick Children
to "step up" and own the role it played in the Motherisk scandal that
saw faulty drug and alcohol hair tests used in thousands of child
Mary Ballantyne, executive director of the Ontario Association of
Children's Aid Societies (OACAS), said Sick Kids, which housed the
discredited Motherisk Drug Testing Laboratory, should do more to
assist in the significant efforts underway to deliver justice to those
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Calgary's police chief is open to introducing supervised facilities
for drug users, so long as such programs are part of a larger strategy
to lower addiction rates and address problems that accompany drug
dependency, such as crime and joblessness.
"It always makes police chiefs look resistant when they say no to
these things. My answer has been: 'Sure, as long as it is part of a
better strategy,' " Calgary Police Service Chief Roger Chaffin said in
an interview this week.
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Cop faces hearing over removal of cat from stoned owner's home
An award-winning Durham Regional Police officer who rescued a
"cowering" kitten from a stoned pet owner's home will face a police
tribunal on Monday, charged with discreditable conduct.
Const. Beth Richardson is accused of "removing a kitten from a
residence without the owners'" knowledge or consent on Jan. 12, 2016.
"She was dispatched as a back-up officer to attend an Oshawa home to
check on the well-being of a female who had been using drugs (crystal
meth) for several days," the notice of hearing says, adding Richardson
"observed a kitten cowering under a table and (believed) it was not
being properly cared for."
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