Accepting Drug Consumption and Preventing Deaths
by audreynoiseux on September 20, 2017 - 1:37pm
Last August 31st, was held the International Overdose Awareness Day. Many activists were hoping to use that day in order to increase people’s awareness of fentanyl. Very common in Vancouver, and increasingly in the streets of Montreal, that drug, meant to be 100 times stronger than morphine, has already created “a bloodbath”, says Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. The drug is often used to cut heroin but has also been found in pills. Jen Smith, from the Safe Works Access Program (SWAP), said: "We're talking about anybody who may go downtown for a night and just pop a pill or do some other kind of drug after they've been partying for a while.” In the article published on August 31 2017, on CBC News Newfoundland and Labrador, Smith underlines the necessity of distributing fentanyl testing strips. The test costs 1$ per use, according to the activist. At the moment, Naloxone, the drug used to block the effects of fentanyl, is being distributed for free in many supervised injection centres. However, for Tree Walsh, also part of the SWAP, the test strips are “just as important as the Naloxone”. The organization hopes to make a difference by preventing the initial use of fentanyl rather than having to cure it, as it is often done too late, and many unintentional overdoses have been caused by the dangerous drug.
As a young adult, I am part of the age group who is inclined to go to various music festivals. During those events, many of my very close friends like to take one, or even several pills of MDMA, a recreational drug in which traces of fentanyl have been recently found. Since I am increasingly aware of the deadly effects of that drug, I am very worried about my friends. When we go to those shows, most of the time we are all intoxicated from alcohol, so we cannot rely on each other to react properly if someone happens to overdose. The thought of seeing one of my friends losing their life is extremely stressful. Last summer, I received photos and videos of them, on many occasions, on which they looked completely absent. They had visibly taken too much. I wish pill testing was easily accessible in festivals, music shows and bars. Even though security agents are trying to regulate the smuggling of drugs, it is obviously ineffective. Authorities must admit it and accept the drug consumption of youths. In order to truly protect the citizens, they should equip people to test what they are about to take, before it is too late. I think that the impact could be significant, as the people whose pills have dangerous drugs inside could report the person who sold them the product. Dealers could become more careful about what they distribute.