So it started providing a replacement for street drugs, first Dilaudid, then fentanyl patches, and now fentanyl capsules. His project buys the fentanyl from a pharmaceutical manufacturer and a local pharmacy combines it with dextrose and caffeine as buffers. The pills are sold for $10 per hit, with a price that exactly matches the street price.
Dr. Sutherland writes a prescription for the drug and patients buy it; if they can’t pay, the program covers the cost.
When the nurses enroll new participants in the program, they increase the dose throughout the days to find exactly what the patients need to replace what they use on the street. Participants use the drugs under supervision at first, to make sure they have the amount they need to avoid withdrawal (and no more, so there is no risk of excess being sold on the street). Then they can withdraw the drugs. site to use.
The opioid crisis
From powerful pharmaceuticals to illegally manufactured synthetics, opioids are fueling a deadly drug crisis in America.
Chris has been a daily user of illicit drugs since he was a teenager. He receives 30,000 micrograms of fentanyl at the dispensary each day. That’s a lot more than would kill a non-user (a doctor would typically prescribe around 50 micrograms temporarily for pain control), but, after years of use, it’s what Chris needs to feel a quick rush of euphoria and avoid abstinence. He said that he hoped to return to work soon and then start shopping on the show, much like he would patronize a liquor store.
Dr. Sutherland hopes that patients like Chris can gradually reduce the amount they use, because they aren’t worried about how they’ll score the next hit to keep the throes of withdrawal, being “drug sick,” at bay.
Lisa James epitomizes the anticipated benefit of shows like this. Ms James, 53, spent 18 years addicted to heroin. For the first eight, every day the same grim cycle began: She would go out in the morning and shoplift, then pass the merchandise on to her boyfriend, who would resell it and use the money to buy heroin. She would drive him home, where she waited anxiously, already nauseated and nervous from drug sickness.