Fentanyl from the government? Vancouver experiment aims to stop overdoses

So she began offering replacements for street drugs, first dilaudid, then fentanyl patches, and now fentanyl capsules. Her project buys fentanyl from a pharmaceutical manufacturer, and the local pharmacy mixes it with dextrose and caffeine as buffers. The pills sell for $10 each, which is exactly the retail price.

Dr. Sutherland writes a prescription for a drug and the patients buy it; if they cannot pay, the program covers the costs.

When nurses enroll new members in the program, they increase the dose over several days to find exactly what patients need to replace what they use outside. Participants first use supervised drugs to make sure they have enough to avoid withdrawal (and no more so there is no risk of selling too much on the street). They can then stop using drugs. site to use.

Chris has been a daily illicit drug user since he was a teenager. He receives 30,000 micrograms of fentanyl every day at the dispensary. It’s definitely more than what would kill a non-drug user – a doctor usually prescribes about 50 micrograms temporarily to manage pain – but after years of use, it’s just what Chris needs to feel a quick rush of euphoria and prevent withdrawal. He said he hopes to get back to work soon and then start buying through the program, as he patronizes the liquor store.

Dr. Sutherland expects patients like Chris to be able to gradually taper off the dose they take because they don’t worry about how they’ll hit their next dose, to keep the agony of withdrawal – the “drug disease” – at bay.

Lisa James epitomizes the expected benefits of such programs. Mrs. James, 53, has been a heroin user for 18 years. For the first eight days, the same dark cycle began each day: she would go out and shoplift in the morning, then give the merchandise to her boyfriend, who would resell it and use the money to buy heroin. He brought him home, where she anxiously waited for him, she was already sick and twitching from a drug disease.