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Drug Positive


Welcome to Drug Positive with DanceSafe founder Emanuel Sferios and co-host Tatiana Makovkin. We are the risk reduction and benefit enhancement podcast removing shame and stigma to save lives and end the drug war.

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Aug 10, 2018

We do not have an overdose crisis. We have a poisoned drug supply. Fentanyl and its analogs are killing tens of thousands of Americans every year. Alarmingly and with ominous future implications, fentanyl-laced cocaine fatalities in Ohio are now outstripping fentanyl-laced herion fatalities. This trend began in 2016 but the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), who operates the three state crime labs that first learned about it, never made the data public.

Dennis CauchonIn this episode we speak with Dennis Cauchon, founder of Harm Reduction Ohio, who just this summer used public records laws to obtain the data from BCI and publish it, warning people that this poisoning crisis had now spread far beyond just the heroin market.

Who is adding fentanyl and carfentanil to the cocaine supply? How many lives has Cauchon saved by spreading this information to the public? And why did BCI sit on the data for three years and not tell anyone? According to Cauchon, they simply didn't realize what they were looking at. Disconnected from the drug culture, they just assumed that mixing fentanyl with cocaine was a new drug trend. They had no idea that cocaine users were unaware that their cocaine contained fentanyl, and that they didn't want their drugs contaminated with it.

Cauchon was able to educate some of the folks in BCI. "After initially being reluctant to provide the information," he say, "BCI was remarkably helpful, which showed a real concern about drug overdose deaths, not just helping police convict people on drug charges."

This is the state of prohibition. This is drug war culture.

In this episode we also speak to Donna May, a mother who lost her daughter to heroin after her doctor cut her off from the prescription opiates that relieved her symptoms of anxiety. We hear from Dr. Torsten Passie, who helped spearhead heroin maintenance programs in Germany. And we talk to Dr. Gabor Maté, best-selling author and addiction treatment specialist from Vancouver, Canada, who explains why drug users are one of the most scapegoated groups in our culture.

This episode describes the problem as well as the solution. And the solution lies not just in changing drug laws, but also our own attitudes and false beliefs about drugs and the people who use them.

Fentanyl increases parallel fatalities

Edited by Emanuel Sferios
Sound engineered by Jimmy Martin
Opening music track by Frankum, creative commons.