Calgary

Fatal Addiction: Alberta's fentanyl crisis

The Calgary Eyeopener delved into Alberta's growing fentanyl crisis with a 5-part series.
They call it green beans, or green apples, or the green monster. But its proper name is fentanyl, and it's a highly addictive opiate considered 100 times more powerful than morphine. (ALERT)

For the week of May 25, the Calgary Eyeopener delved into Alberta's growing fentanyl crisis. 

In the first segment of the series, recovering fentanyl addict Ben Borger told his story about the dangers and allure of the potent street drug.

Greenies, green beans and shady 80s — those are just some of the nicknames for the street drug fentanyl, which is often passed off by dealers as OxyContin. (Surrey RCMP)

A mother shared the story of how fentanyl has impacted her family in the second part of the series.

CBC's Judy Aldous then travelled down to the Blood Tribe reserve in southern Alberta to hear how the community is dealing with its fentanyl crisis. Kainai Nation west of Lethbridge has been one of the hardest hit communities in the province.

Gail Chase, the prescription drug abuse co-ordinator with the Blood Tribe, was lured back to her home to help tackle the fentanyl crisis. (Judy Aldous)

The head of mental health and addictions services for Alberta told the Calgary Eyeopener Thursday that the province needs to improve access to drugs that combat addictions to opiates like fentanyl, because abstinence doesn't work.

From left to right: Receptionist Sharon Curly Rider, Dr. Susan Christenson and nurse Donna Grosventreboy all work at the Levern Health Clinic on the Blood Tribe reserve. Christenson recently received a special license to prescribe the opiate replacement drug Suboxone. (Judy Aldous/CBC)

The last segment of the series saw Calgary police explain how fentanyl has become a challenge to crack down on because dealers can easily import the drug from Asian markets, like in China.

Calgary police have already seized 13,000 fentanyl tablets this year. (CBC)

now