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.
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
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
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