Clinic helps fentanyl addict on Blood First Nation.
When Kevin Shouting discovered Roxanne Blood and Tim Eagle Speaker, parents of four children, had overdosed on what was believe to be fentanyl, also known as Oxy80s, he decided to make a change. Since May, he has sought treatment at a Blood Tribe clinic for his fentanyl addiction, receiving suboxone, an opioid replacement. Dr. Susan Christenson, who has been practicing medicine on the reserve at her Lavern townsite clinic since 2006, says it is difficult to overdose on suboxone unless it is combined with alcohol or other opioids. Because of the number of deaths on the reserve, she has faced little resistance to its use. Doctors believe that suboxone and methadone are treatments that help with withdrawal as those who detox are at a high risk of relapsing. Since Christenson has set up her suboxone clinic, there have been fewer overdoses on the reserve. Shouting also lost a cousin and close friend to fentanyl, linked to an estimated 30 Blood tribe member deaths. The treatment has helped Shouting turn his life around. He has been accepted into Mount Royal University's social work program with an eye to becoming an addictions counsellor. Among other steps the community has taken include increased patrols, a 24-hour crisis line, and an overdose reversal medication, naloxone. The fentanyl death toll continues to rise with 145 fatal overdoses reported in Alberta in the first six months of this year.
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|Date:||Sep 1, 2015|
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