Sarah Townsend, Norfolk County EMS; Kareena Ivanis, Roulston's Pharmacy; Rick Feigo and Jeff Mitchell, Norfolk Detachment OPP  Street Crime Unit.
 
We all hear about deaths from fentanyl overdose. But why has it become such a problem and how prevalent is fentanyl addiction in Norfolk County?
 
Pharmacist Kareena Ivanis, spoke about the Patch-4-Patch Program initiated by Roulston's Pharmacy over a year ago.  Fentanyl is a highly effective pain medication and when properly administered in a patch is invaluable for cancer patients. Used patches, however, have a street value to drug abusers, so the Patch-4-Patch program has effectively taken this product off the street.  
 
With fentanyl patches unavailable, drug abusers have been able to access fentanyl powder which is highly potent and risky.  Officers Feigo and Mitchell addressed the impact powder is having. Manufactured in China, powder is often mixed with heroine and can easily lead to a severe overdose. Now considered an epidemic, 3 fentanyl overdose cases have been reported in Norfolk within the past week, but not all cases are reported.  Addicts who overdose are hard core addicts and "live from fix to fix," so will do whatever they need to do to buy the next fix. 
 
Sarah Townsend, Chief of Norfolk County EMS, put a finer point on the statistics.  In 2015 twenty-five cases of fentanyl overdose were attended to, compared to 118 in the first eleven months of 2016, 25 of which were in the past 4 weeks.  The trend seems obvious.  Very few deaths in Norfolk have been attributed to fentanyl overdose, however. 
 
Now wasn't this a very interesting meeting!