Fentanyl patches, first developed a decade ago, are designed to slowly release the drug over 72 hours. But in the last five years drug users discovered the prescription narcotic could be chewed, smoked, injected or otherwise consumed all at once.

In a special report, CBC Ottawa reporter Steve Fischer follows the story from the perspective of former addicts, doctors, addiction specialists and police.


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Lee Saikaley said he has been off fentanyl since he was released from jail last year after the death of his girlfriend. (CBC)

Girlfriend's fentanyl OD a wake-up call

When his girlfriend died in the night after using fentanyl, a powerful prescription drug, Lee Saikaley said he knew he had to get off the drug. 'If I didn't learn from that, I mean it's pretty much hopeless," he said.

WATCH | Fentanyl wake-up call


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Dr. Mark Ujjainwalla said he's been treating people for fentanyl addiction for 20 years. (CBC)

Fentanyl's deadly arrival in Ottawa

The appearance of prescription drugs, such as fentanyl, as a street opiate has alarmed police, health officials and drug user advocates.

WATCH | The rise of fentanyl


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Mark Barnes said his pharmacy will be asking people coming in for refills to return the old patches. (CBC)

Pharmacy moves to curb Ottawa fentanyl abuse

An Ottawa pharmacist said his store will be requiring people looking to renew prescriptions for the powerful narcotic fentanyl to provide all of the used patches from their previous prescription, in an effort to curb abuse.

WATCH | Solutions to fentanyl issue