Over the past little while a tragedy has occurred in Kindersley: a young woman and young man died due to the use of the illegal drugs fentanyl or fake oxycontin also known as fake 80. This drug comes in a variety of colours.
Fentanyl, a painkiller up to 100 times more potent than morphine, can cut off oxygen to the heart and brain. The antidote Naloxone reverses these effects for 30 to 40 minutes before it wears off, offering a critical window of time to rush victims to hospital.
Yesterday I was interviewed by the StarPhoenix regarding this story. The story is pasted below and the link is here for the original.
By Betty Ann Adam, The Starphoenix August 6, 2015
Kindersley RCMP believe a woman and a man who died there had taken fentanyl, and they suspect the counterfeit OxyContin was behind an overdose that sent a second man to hospital.
Fentanyl, a non-prescription drug made by criminal organizations in clandestine labs, has been blamed for hundreds of deaths across Canada, including 10 in Saskatchewan in 2014 and, as of last month, three in 2015.
The pills originally mimicked green OxyContin tablets but may now be available in any other colour, Kindersley RCMP Cpl. Daniel Archibald said.
The Kindersley overdoses occurred in three separate incidents over the past month, Archibald said.
“We’d like to find the source of where it’s coming from in our area.”
The RCMP investigation, including interviews with the victims’ associates, has led them to believe fentanyl was being used, but they are waiting for confirmation from toxicology studies, Archibald said.
The three who overdosed were in their 20s or 30s, he said.
RCMP were aware the drug had made its way to the city of 5,400 located 200 kilometres southwest of Saskatoon, but Archibald said the sudden lethal effects are “disturbing.”
“I don’t know if it would be uncommon in the drug trade, but it’s alarming to us.”
Mayor John Enns-Wind offered condolences to the victims’ families.
“It’s unfortunate. No one should have to see their children die for whatever reason. You always have this hope that they’ll continue, and that’s the biggest grief a family suffers, it’s that loss of what could have been,” he said.
The deaths prompted some soul searching for the mayor.
“These are our neighbours, these are the people we work with, these are our friends, and we wonder, how does it come to this? What are the decisions they take that lead to a choice to try this? Is there something that could have (been done) beforehand?
“Do we have, from a municipal perspective, opportunities for residents to find fulfilment in healthy ways? That’s part of the town’s job. Some people decide to use those and others decide not to.”
The town has a new indoor swimming pool in the works, the Heartland Health Region has dedicated addictions staff and the West Central Crisis and Family Support Centre offers counselling, family support and programs, he said.
Archibald urges anyone who knows who is bringing the drug into Kindersley to help make the community safer by calling the RCMP at 306-463-4642 or by making an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.
He also encouraged people with addictions to seek medical help.