Salomons: The availability of drugs

At this point in time no one can deny that drugs are a problem. Actually, they are more than a problem, they’re an epidemic. It makes one ask why, where do they come from, and why are they so readily available?

Of course, everyone has heard the names crack, meth, fentanyl and now carfentanyl, and the term opiates, but there are a host of others on the street. The scary thing is that most opiates are prescription drugs; at the very least they started that way.

At the kitchen, I have had many opportunities to speak with people who are hooked on drugs simply because, for whatever reason, a doctor prescribed opiates for pain. So, if a person has a propensity to addiction, it doesn’t take too long before said individual is firmly hooked. I was always a little skeptical and felt they used it as an excuse, but listening to the news one night woke me up.

In the news program that I watched regarding the proliferation of opiates, the announcer made the claim that Canada holds the record for the most prescribed opiates in the world. That, in itself, is a most damning and terrifying claim to make, but they displayed the proof. Of the opiates prescribed, the greater majority are addictive.

A lot of the street drugs folks obtain are in pill form, and it makes one wonder where in heaven’s name do they get all those pills? As it turns out, they make them. Disturbingly, it is totally legal for anyone to buy a 6,000 pill per hour press to make anything into pill form, and I mean anything.

Many of the pills, while looking professionally made, often contain household products such as corn starch, baking soda, caustic soda, Aspirin and others. Then to give it some kick, they will add some fentanyl. Unless the person making the pills has some knowledge of chemicals, the amount of fentanyl varies; enough so that now we have a growing number of deaths due to this insidious drug.

The number of people now addicted to fentanyl is staggering, as it has almost become the new drug of choice. For those wanting to get away from this drug, they will go to detox or rehab for a short time, and when they come out of a dry period the urge to re-use is so strong that they take more fentanyl. They will take the same amount they took before drying out, and that’s when they overdose; their body can no longer handle that amount in a single dose.

How then can we battle such an enormous problem?

Instead of more and more studies into the situation as each successive government wants to do, and then taking years to enact a simple law, can we not deny access to equipment to someone who obviously is not starting a pharmaceutical company? Or if he is; why is there no oversight?

What about the importation of all the different drugs manufactured in East Asia? On the same news program, the government stated very emphatically, “we’re looking into the situation very carefully.” It seems to me they have had about 50 or more years to look into the fastest growing industry in the world.

With the surveillance capabilities that we now possess, are we not able to track this deadly cargo better? I guess it’s more profitable to spy on reporters and those they associate with; easier anyways.

If I sound cynical and maybe a little bitter, maybe it’s because I am. I have lost friends to this epidemic, and there seems to be no searching for the remedies.

It hurts to lose a friend.

Chris Salomons is kitchen co-ordinator for Potter’s Hands ministry in Red Deer.

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