One front line worker asks friends to call her when they use alone
"I'm starting to not know how to cope with it anymore," says Christine Zinni, a harm reduction worker at Parkdale Community Health Centre and a former user herself.
"I'm becoming numb I guess you can say... I don't want to become indifferent to death."
In six weeks, Christine says she's lost six friends, mainly to fentanyl.
She's begged friends to not use alone, but she says the stigma associated with drug use is just too strong.
Christine says friends who use are terrified of getting something laced with fentanyl but that it's not easy to quit. She describes drug use as a coping mechanism often complicated by chronic poverty, isolation and marginalization.
Christine carries naloxone in her purse everywhere she goes and has had to use it multiple times, including at work in the washroom where someone overdosed.
Christine says that staff now check the washrooms at Parkdale Community Health Centre every half hour.
"If somebody is in the washroom for too long, we start to get worried. I knock and I wait for a response. If they don't respond, then I'm getting in here."