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48 Hours: Lessons from Vancouver in Canada's Opioid Crisis: W5

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Catalogue Number:  CTV715
Producer:  CTV
Producing Agencies:  CTV
Subject:  Canadian Social Issues, Criminal Justice & Law, Current Events, Documentary, Guidance, Health and Medicine, Social Issues, Social Sciences
Language:  English
Grade Level:  9 - 12, Post Secondary
Country Of Origin:  Canada
Copyright Year:  2017
Running Time:  40:00
Closed Captions:  Yes

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W5's Jon Woodward investigates Canada's growing fentanyl epidemic at ground zero - Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Woodward spends the 48 hours after "welfare Wednesday", often considered the toughest two days on the streets, delivering an unprecedented, first-hand account of the fight against the growing synthetic opioid crisis.

W5 identifies new tools in the fight against synthetic opioid overdoses, including the use of Narcan, the life-saving opioid antidote that counteracts the effects of fentanyl. The report spotlights how specialized paramedics and volunteers on the ground, army-style mobile treatment centres, prescription heroin, and supervised injection sites are making a difference for victims of this crushing addiction.

W5 profiles Vancouver Coastal Health's Mobile Medical Unit (MMU), a field hospital that can be transported to each emergency, and delivers revealing interviews with paramedics, first responders, and users in the area. Working alongside their colleagues from CTV Vancouver, W5 also visits St. Paul's Hospital, the closest emergency room to Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, which sees three-quarters of the overdose calls in the area.

Woodward also interviews former businesswoman and politician Sarah Blyth, now the operator of a safe injection site, and Dr. Scott Macdonald from the Crosstown Clinic, a first-of-its-kind program in North America offering legal, prescription heroin to chronic users as a last ditch solution to addiction. Blyth and Macdonald discuss the societal cost of illicit drugs and how these new initiatives are reducing the burden on society, while saving lives and the city millions of dollars.

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