Antidepressant Wellbutrin becomes ‘poor man’s cocaine’ on Toronto streets

Global News

Video: A popular antidepressant has found its way to the streets & become known as the “poor man’s cocaine.” Global National’s Jen Tryon explains.

WARNING: This post contains graphic images that some viewers may find disturbing.

TORONTO – The first time Marty MacDonnell injected Wellbutrin he had no idea what else was going into his veins.

He gets the drug from his doctor to treat depression. It’s one of Canada’s most popular and easily accessible prescription drugs. He also buys it on the streets, where it can go for $2.50 per pill.

In fact, some refer to it as the “poor man’s cocaine.”

Users say it gives them a crack-like high at a much cheaper price.

“I’ve got, in all my time using it, I’ve probably got a good rush maybe half a dozen times, like it was an actual cocaine high,” MacDonnell said. “The rest of the time it’s…

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Announcing the Opioid Overdose Toolkit


Approximately 100 Americans died from overdose every day in 2010. In just one year, we lost 38,000 people to overdose—more than the number who died from either homicides or traffic crashes. 22,000 of those deaths involved prescription drugs, and more than 3,000 involved heroin. Frighteningly, other data show that opiate use among young people is increasing.

These numbers are staggering. Here’s what makes them heartbreaking: every overdose death is preventable. Two years ago, we released a comprehensive plan to address our nation’s prescription drug abuse epidemic. This plan supports prescription drug monitoring programs, convenient and environmentally responsible drug disposal methods, education for patients and prescribers, and law enforcement efforts to decrease diversion of prescription drugs.

In honor of International Overdose Awareness Day, this Saturday, August 31, we are joining other federal partners to announce the release of the Opioid Overdose Toolkit. The Toolkit, developed by the Department of Health and Human Services, provides information on overdose prevention, treatment and recovery for first responders, prescribers, and patients. Read More…

Coalition seeks ‘Good Samaritan’ law to prevent overdose deaths

Narcan userby Conrad Wilson, Minnesota Public Radio

August 8, 2013

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — A coalition of doctors and public health advocates wants Minnesota to join a growing number of states that have laws aimed at saving the lives of drug abusers.

State Sen. Chris Eaton plans to introduce a bill in the next legislative session that would provide legal immunity for those who call 911 to seek help for someone suffering an overdose. It would also increase access to a drug that revives those who overdose on opiate-based drugs, like heroin. Read More…

Law that lets addicts have needles aims to halt spread of deadly diseases




The statistics are shocking: Seventy percent of illegal-injection drug users will contract hepatitis C from the use of dirty needles. About 10 percent will acquire HIV.

The lifetime cost of caring for a hepatitis patient is $500,000, and HIV lifetime health care costs are a minimum of $355,000.

Thirty percent of police who deal with addicts eventually will stick themselves with needles when they frisk injection-drug users. Nearly a fourth of officers suffer two or more needle sticks. Read More

The Governor Signs SB410

For Immediate Release: June 12, 2013
CARSON CITY, NV — Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed SB 410 yesterday, removing syringes from the list of illegal drug paraphernalia, thereby allowing for non-prescription sale of syringes and syringe access and disposal programs….
Nevada joins 36 other states that have decriminalized syringes to allow for syringe exchange programs and non-prescription sales of sterile injection equipment to reduce transmission of HIV, viral hepatitis, and other bloodborne infections.
Senator David Parks, the bill author, remarked, “Back in 1996 when first elected, I was asked what bills I’d be pursuing for my first legislative session.  My response was employment non-discrimination, HIV/AIDS state funding and decriminalization of hypodermic devices.  Little did I know it would be my 9th session before decriminalization of hypodermic devices would come to fruition.”
Northern Nevada HOPES in Reno plans to start a syringe exchange program as soon as the law takes effect. Director Sharon Chamberlain says, “In addition to getting sterile syringe out to those who need them, our program will increase safe syringe disposal by individuals in the community.  We will educate these users about the new and needed community disposal options, and strongly encourage them to take advantage of this resource.”  Previously, no community initiatives provided safe disposal options.
The US Centers for Disease Control concluded that the incidence of HIV among injection drug users had decreased by 80% in the US over a 20- year period in large part due to syringe exchange programs.  Most syringe exchange programs are part of a comprehensive health promotion effort that includes viral hepatitis and HIV counseling and testing, education on reducing sexual and drug use-related health risks, referral to drug treatment, and referral to other medical and social services.

Advocacy Materials

This is a great starting point to get more information! Whether you are educating yourself on some of our initiatives such as syringe service programs, naloxone access or the Good Sam law in Nevada or building a lobby packet to inform your legislators. We are collecting materials to keep everybody as educated as possible!

Important Documents for Naloxone Access and the Good Samaritan Law:

Important Documents for Syringe Access

Write a Letter to Your Legislator now:

  • Find your legislator here: Click Here
  • Tailor this letter to your representative and email/mail it to them: Click here for a template letter
  • Don’t forget to send one letter to your senator and one letter to your assemblyman/woman