Dozens of parents concerned about the increasingly popular use of the drug Fentanyl among teens in Manotick showed up at a public meeting Wednesday night.
The prescription painkiller, a synthetic opiate, is being taken recreationally in Manotick and in other areas of Ottawa.
The drug is usually administered as a patch on the skin, often prescribed for chronic pain or after surgeries. It's stronger than morphine, and it's highly addictive. It creates a state of relaxation and euphoria.
Tyler Campbell, a Manotick resident, was 17 years old when he died of a Fentanyl overdose in August.
His grandfather, Dennis Westwell, attended the meeting.
"I am one of the grandparents of the 17-year-old who died August the fourth. It's too late for him, but I believe he was the cause of this meeting being held," Westwell said. "So that's a benefit.
"It's not about good kids and bad kids. My grandson was a good kid; well loved, well respected. He was very busy, too. I kind of find it hard to believe that he had time to get involved [in the drug]."
Addicts often resort to crime to pay for drug
Westwell said a girl who knew Campbell overdosed on the drug earlier this week, and that paramedics were able to save her.
He called for tougher sentences for drug traffickers, and for more public meetings on the issue.
Addicts often resort to crime to pay for the drug. A rash of break-ins in Manotick a year ago first alerted police to the drug problem there, and a rash of break-ins in Barrhaven in October are believed to be linked to the drug.
"It's such a powerful high that they are always trying to chase that same high that they experienced the first time," said Ottawa police Staff Sgt. Michael Laviolette.
"We've seen break-and-enters, we've seen addiction, we've also seen fatalities as a result of this drug, so it's really important that we have a comprehensive plan moving forward," said MPP Lisa MacLeod. "And I'm confident that the leaders here … are going to be able to help us."
Dr. Melanie Willows of the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group said the longer someone is addicted, the worse the withdrawal usually is.
"You can't sleep, you have fever chills, you feel like you were hit by a truck yesterday, your anxiety is through roof, and it goes on and on and on," she said.
Addiction counsellors recommend not only getting addicts into treatment programs, but also getting families of addicts into counselling.