Thursday, June 16, 2016

Who's Making a "Killing" from the Fentanyl boom?

The Vancouver Sun is reporting that the drug in pill form, fentanyl, is being blamed for an unprecedented number of BC overdose deaths.

More than 300 people have died from drug overdoses so far this year — a number B.C.’s deputy provincial health officer says is unprecedented in the province.
While the number of overdoses has been rising for the past three years, fentanyl is now seen in the majority of illicit drug deaths, Bonnie Henry told Vancouver city councillors Wednesday.
Many people don’t even know they’re taking fentanyl, she said.
“They think they’re taking something else,” Henry said, adding that the synthetic opiod, which is primarily being smuggled into the country from China, is “made to look like other medications.”

I am wondering what group is behind the recent staggering increase in opiate use all over the world and particularly in North America.  Death by opiate overdose was in the news recently following the untimely death of rock star Prince. It was reported that Prince had been hooked on the powerful drug ever since he developed chronic pain due to injuries suffered during his energetic stage performances. Apparently, he routinely jumped from stage platforms in high heels.  As any woman will tell you...that will do it.


The legendary pop star Prince died of an opioid overdose, according to test results that were leaked to AP by a law enforcement source.Medical examinations of the pop artist, who was found dead on April 21 at his Minnesota estate, revealed an overdose of opioid painkillers, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. AP reported that he is“close to the investigation”but was not authorized to speak to the media.
The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office later came out and officially announced that his death was determined to be caused by fentanyl, an extremely powerful synthetic opioid that is even stronger than morphine or heroine

Some powerful corporation (or nation) is undoubtedly making a literal killing on supplying these drugs internationally. Doctors are no doubt encouraged by drug companies to write prescriptions for these drugs for chronic pain. So much quicker and easier than holistic cures. Also, there's a huge illegal street market for drugs that are easy to ingest (no more of those messy heroine needles) but that pack the same drugged-up-for-days "punch".

When I was a social worker working with vulnerable populations in poverty stricken areas of Metro Vancouver, I was always surprised at the ease with which these individuals (who were invariably on social assistance) could get steady supplies of numbing drugs like Tylenol 3's.  Now, just in the past couple of years, the ante has been upped exponentially in the availability and the potency of even more powerful and deadly drugs. One could not be faulted for asking:  Who is trying to kill the poor and disadvantaged?

With the boomer population aging and with more demands being made on our healthcare and social services systems....why not give the depressed and chronically ill a way out?  Why not make euthanasia a standard option? (As the Liberal government is now in the process of doing).  Hey, with all the RRSP's piled up in Banks....if the owners of these RRSP's died prematurely, and nobody knew of the existence of their investments...the banks could also make a "killing" over the untimely deaths. And, come to think of it, if seniors died sooner...there would be less stress on the government pension's a win/win [sarc].

But I return to my original question...WHO is making a killing on the importing (apparently the fentanyl comes from China) the easy-to-ingest and quick-acting killer drugs?  Well, if Gary Webb was still alive, he would follow the money trail right from the doubt to the "usual suspects".  But, unfortunately, this American hero died with two bullets to the brain.  It's too bad the Canadian police (RCMP) are spending millions of Taxpayer dollars and thousands of man hours recruiting down and out vulnerable addicts to stage terror events like the local Terror Patsies now undergoing a long and expensive trial.  All that money and all those police hours would surely track down the drug manufacturers, suppliers, pushers and dealers. But that's a nasty, dangerous job....unlike the job of sitting in a Tim Horton's with a druggie....blathering endlessly into a hidden microphone about setting up Muslim terror schemes.

But, hey, look up. There's another, even more potent and dangerous drug entering the market....something called W-18. Here's a synopsis of this drug from the Vancouver Sun link:

As of June 1, Canada made it illegal to produce, possess, import, export or traffic W-18 after the substance was identified during several illicit-drug seizures.
Researchers looking at the chemical structure suggest the compound doesn’t bind to opioid receptors in the body the way fentanyl or other opioids do, Juurlink said.
The inventor of W-18 also disputes the claims being made about the chemical. Retired chemist Ed Knaus said that while the other compounds in the W-series behaved in some ways like opioids, that same behaviour wasn’t displayed in W-18.
“It’s always possible (that it’s an opioid) because we didn’t prove the mechanism of action,” Knaus said. He added that W-18 isn’t necessarily 10,000 more toxic or dangerous than morphine.
“The problem here is that the press and everybody extrapolates (and) people start to equate numbers,” said Knaus.
“They say that this thing is 100 times more potent than fentanyl and fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine, so automatically it’s 10,000. Well, we never tested fentanyl in our case.”
Knaus said he was “saddened and disturbed” that after so many years someone would exploit W-18 for use as an illicit drug.
The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has since backtracked on information it released in January describing W-18 as an opioid 100 times more toxic than fentanyl.
“That information was what was available to us back at the end of last year, and there has since been a lot more interest and some more supposition,” said Jane Buxton, the head of the centre’s harm reduction office.

Health Canada did not respond to a request for comment, but it appears the information included in its fact sheet comes from preliminary research in the original nine-page patent application, dated Aug. 28, 1984.
That same research information was circulated by the Centre for Disease Control, said the organization’s head, Mark Tyndall.
The study used mice to test the pain-relieving activity of all the W-series compounds and the results were compared to several other drugs, including aspirin and morphine.
The research found it takes 10,000 times more morphine than W-18 to produce the same analgesic effect.
That doesn’t make the drug 10,000 times more dangerous than morphine, said Bryan Roth, a pharmacologist at the University of North Carolina.
“All this means is that if you’re a mouse … you could be given a dose of W-18 that’s 10,000 times less than a dose of morphine and you would have basically an equivalent effect,” said Roth, who is conducting research on W-18.
“It may be a dangerous drug, but we don’t know that. There’s no data out there.”
It’s prudent to be concerned about it though, given that a poorly understood compound is showing up on the illicit market, he added.
Roth raised the concern that if W-18 turns out to be toxic but not an opioid, then standard overdose-reversing agents such as naloxone would be ineffective.
Juurlink said there are plenty of other drugs to focus on that warrant the attention of police forces and regulators and doctors and end users.
“We should focus on them and spend less time catastrophizing on the issue of W-18.”

So we have a new drug entering the already burgeoning street drug scene...that's virtually untested but is suspected by some to have an effect 10,000 times more than morphine....and the effect cannot be reversed by naxolone. Like I asked: Where's Gary Webb when we need him?

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