Drug awareness - Myths and realities

Krokodil in Canada: Myth!

Synthesized from codeine, a derivative of morphine available over the counter in Russia until 2012, desomorphine or krokodil is a new drug that is plaguing this country where it is used as a substitute for heroin. Images of the effects of krokodil shown on the Internet are very disturbing. Recently, some information suggesting that desomorphine was present in Canada and the United States led to disproportionate media coverage. However, no case of desomorphine use has been confirmed by toxicology reports in Canada or the United States.

While the presence of this substance has only been confirmed in Russia, a wave of concern has swept over Canada. Everyone is terrified by the thought that this substance could find its way into our country as nothing compares with this drug that is believed to reduce users' life expectancy to 2 to 3 years. Desomorphine is a synthetic injectable drug that causes skin necrosis. The skin turns into greenish plates resembling crocodile leather, hence its name.

The probability that this devastating drug reaches Canada is small given the availability of other opiates on the black market such as DilaudidMD and l'OxyContinMD.Footnote*

Cannabis grow ops do not pose a risk: myth!

Homes used to grow marihuana are modified in order to provide the optimal climate for the plants. Such modifications produce extremely dangerous conditions for the house itself and neighbouring houses.

Electrical bypasses and rewiring performed by unqualified individuals results in dangerous electrical hazards. Improperly grounded wires or exposed live wires place residents and neighbours at risk.

The use of enormous amounts of electricity combined with the illegal tampering of electrical systems increases the risk of fire. The probability of fire is 24 times greater in a house containing a grow op.

The high humidity and temperatures necessary for a grow op leads to the formation of mould and fungus. Chemicals used in the production process are often not ventilated properly and left to circulate inside the residence. Both the moulds and the chemical gases create serious health risks.

Cannabis does not generate violence: myth!

Outdoor grow ops are often heavily guarded and unsuspecting citizens may happen upon them unknowingly. Many are protected by booby traps such as bear traps and firearms. Because they are often associated with organized crime, the presence of a grow operation increases the threat of violence and criminal activity in a neighbourhood. Residents and their children, visitors as well as first responders are exposed to these risks.

Children living within these houses are subject to the above noted health and physical dangers. They are also at a heightened risk for abuse and violence. Youths who grow up in such houses, powerless to change their environment, are also more likely to stay involved in such criminal activities as they themselves grow older and become adults.

Cannabis trafficking is the main source of revenue for organized crime and is used to fund many other criminal activities such as the importation of other drugs (cocaine, heroin), the production and traffic of synthetic drugs, firearms trafficking, fraud, money laundering, etc. at the expense of society.

Buying medicines on the Internet poses many risks: reality!

Buying medicines from online pharmacies may pose serious health risks. These medicines are often manufactured overseas in non-regulated facilities.

In fact, some online pharmacies sell drugs that are not approved for use in Canada because of safety concerns. Buyers have no idea of the nature of the substance or the actual dosage. The drugs purchased may contain little or no active ingredients, or worse still, they may contain dangerous additives.

Buying medicines online can increase the risk of credit card fraud, identity theft and malicious software downloads.

Counterfeit medicines are one of the world's fastest growing illicit industries. When buying counterfeit medicines online, users directly support organized criminal groups, in addition to putting their health and safety at risk.

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