Calgary·Fatal addiction

Recovering fentanyl addict on his 'freak out' at Walmart

A former fentanyl addict talks about the allure, and danger, of the potent street drug for the Calgary Eyeopener's new in-depth series.

Calgarian talks frankly about overdosing in public on potent street drug for the Eyeopener's in-depth series

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 Calgary man who used to be hooked on fentanyl is speaking out about the dangers of the potent street drug.

"It would be kind of selfish of me to hide, and worry about myself when there's people suffering out there that could maybe benefit from hearing the truths," Ben Borger told the Calgary Eyeopener on Monday.

The synthetic painkiller, which is often passed off by drug dealers as OxyContin, was linked to six deaths in Alberta in 2011. Last year, that number spiked to 120.

Borger says the pills are easy to get addicted to.

"It's almost like serenity. You're completely calm and it's like a warm blanket comes over your body."

Greenies, green beans and shady 80s — those are just a few of the nicknames fentanyl, which is often passed off by dealers as OxyContin.

I was like ripping my shirt off and yelling at pants. Just acting completely irrational.- Ben Borger, recovering fentanyl addict

He dropped out of university, lost several jobs and became completely removed from his family. Borger says the "dirty" drug took over his life.

Then he overdosed at a Walmart. 

"​I had a complete freak out," he said.

Borger says the dramatic event prompted at least six different people to call police.

"I was like ripping my shirt off and yelling at pants. Just acting completely irrational and laying down in the middle of Walmart."

After spending a night in the hospital, Borger went right back to using.

"Once you go that far down the rabbit hole, you're physically dependant on the drugs."

His mother eventually helped get him into a treatment centre on Vancouver Island.

In the first two months of 2015, the province set a disturbing record — 50 fatal fentanyl overdoses. ​​

"I was on my way to being one of those numbers. I'm grateful I got help when I did."

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