Conversations That Matter

Dr. Evan Wood: Rethinking our approach to the Opioid Crisis

October 4, 2017

Ep 159 - Dr. Evan Wood

It’s time for an entirely different approach to the drug crisis


The Opioid - Fentanyl crisis that is sweeping through Vancouver, the province and beyond is growing unabated. This week Conversations That Matter features Dr. Evan Wood of the BC Centre on Substance Use, says it’s time to completely re-examine our drug policies and our drug laws.


Simply put, he says prohibition hasn’t worked. He points to Opium as an example. It was the drug that ignited a trade war between Great Britain and China. Since then the transportation of the drug became restricted.


The production of heroin was the result because it was far easier to conceal, transport and avoid detection if the alkaloid morphine was extracted from the dried poppy and packaged in smaller bundles.


Fentanyl is one-thousand times more potent than morphine is the latest iteration in the make it small, more potent and harder to detect reaction to prohibition. Buried below the surface of detection these synthetic opioid analgesics enter the marketplace devoid of consumer protection.


And drug users with no intention of consuming fentanyl are at risk. The drugs are packaged in less than ideal locations, like a kitchen table.  Once finished with fentanyl, the table may get a quick brush over which frequently leaves traces of the killer drug behind.


Then when the cocaine, the dealer is cutting gets dropped on the same table, grains of the deadly fentanyl can and often do get mixed in. The unsuspecting cocaine user snorts the white powder and the result can be and frequently is - deadly.


Wood suggests the establishment of labs available to pushers and users to determine the purity and potency of the drug will go a long way to reducing the fatal side effect.


Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue presents Conversations That Matter. Join veteran Broadcaster Stuart McNish each week for an important and engaging Conversation about the issues shaping our future.

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