Fentanyl Menace Escalates in Regina: Insidious Prices Mask Deadly Overdose Risk


The ever-growing accessibility of fentanyl within Regina combined with its decreasing prices has turned the drug into a pervasive menace, as observed firsthand by Daniel Missens, a recent member of the city’s drug-using community. Missens could guide anyone to drug houses dotting his neighborhood as they are scattered almost at every corner.

Having remained sober for a month, Missens was for long, ensnared by the allure of fentanyl. When he had started using, dealers would quote prices between $50 to $60 per point for the powerful opioid. But as Missens unveiled today, the prices have sunk to just $40 a point. Moreover, dealers are even prepared to sell half a point for $20, with the bare minimum as inexpensive as $10.

What instigates fear, however, is the hidden cost concealed behind these seemingly lower prices. Missens professed that drug dealers seldom intentionally provoke overdoses. Instead, they warn their ilk about varying potencies of the drug, dictated by the color of the fentanyl. Even with such warnings, the risk persists, as Missens articulately explained, “Drug dealers don’t know how much fentanyl is in there. Your first high could have just a tiny amount. Then all of a sudden, your third high has 100 per cent more and then you’re overdosing.”

Yet, the fear lurking in Missens’ heart is carfentanil, an opioid boasting a potency 100 times that of fentanyl. This deadly souvenir has been discovered in batches of fentanyl, and dealers are reportedly learning to concoct the lethal drug themselves.

The hazards posed by carfentanil have prompted the staff of Queen City Wellness Pharmacy to post warning signs across their premises, alerting clients of its existence within street-bought drugs. Sarah Kozusko, the pharmacy operator, reported staff members responding to three to five overdoses on a weekly basis.

The pharmacy serves as a sanctuary for afflicted individuals, offering a resting place, access to clean drug supplies, and food. Kozusko perceives substances like fentanyl to be safety blankets that shield users from past traumas and mental health problems. To wean them off the drug, the warmth inside their homes has to be turned up, with housing and food at the top of her list for successfully turning lives around.

Kozusko’s staff strive to link clients with housing, mental health, and addiction aids, including harm reduction drugs that stave off withdrawal symptoms. However, Kozusko believes Regina’s ongoing crisis with addiction has escalated beyond unimaginable proportions, reaching a state “worse than it’s ever been”.

Considering the consequences today, Kozusko mourns the loss of innocence, “It used to be back in my day, when you experimented with drugs, you didn’t die. Now people are dying after one use of a substance.”

Echoing similar sentiments, Missens, whose maiden tryst with drugs started with marijuana, confessed that no one willingly choose the life of an addict. He believes that for many, this is a direct outcome of their circumstances and often the result of intergenerational trauma. He poignantly stated, “If you talk to these people and ask them if they want to continue using this, they will tell you, ‘No I don’t.’”


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