Kolin Glendenning isn’t trying to sugarcoat anything when it comes to the recent death of his father.
“He was an addict. He spent a lot of time in jail,” the 25-year-old London man told 980 CFPL.
London police aren’t identifying five individuals who they say died from overdose deaths in the span of six days last week. But the victims were all men, and the first one died on March 30th.
Kolin’s dad, a 44-year-old father of two named Kevin Glendenning, died on March 30th.
“I’ve got so many memories to remember him by,” said Kolin. He lived with his mother growing up, but he remembers riding bikes around the city with his dad, and more recently, they’d play pool.
During the 44-year-old man’s funeral on Friday, family laughed about his penchant for collecting things, and his habit of riding his motorcycle and walking into shops with his cat, Homer, perched on his shoulder.
“I was just shocked… I thought he was getting better,” said Kolin.
Though he remembers his father spending a lot of time partying when he was young, he thought his dad had been easing up on the drugs.
“In the past few years I hadn’t seen him do needles. As far as I knew, he was just doing meth and pills. But he had slowed down, like he wasn’t as bad as he used to be. It was just every once and a while to get through the day. He wasn’t an addict chasing a high.”
But fentanyl — a powerful opioid that Kolin suspects may have played a role in his dad’s death — doesn’t discriminate between its victims.
Health officials warn it can be up to 100 times more powerful than morphine. It can be legally prescribed in slow-release patches, but it’s also being found in street drugs in powdered form.
Fentanyl has caused hundreds of deaths in Ontario, and London police suspect it played a role in at least three of the overdose deaths announced on Friday.
WATCH: China cracks down on fentanyl, blames U.S. for its abuse
Det. Sgt. Rob Merrimen, the head of London police’s Guns and Drugs Unit, says dealers are selling the drug because they can make more money off of it.
“A point of fentanyl, which is a 10th of a gram, goes for about $50 or $60,” he said. “That can go a longer way than typical use of another opiate.”
Kolin — who has overcome his own addiction to crack cocaine — says he doesn’t understand the allure of fentanyl. He tried it once to tide him over when he couldn’t get his drug of choice.
“I can’t understand why people want to do it, and possibly die from it,” he said. “My mind can’t grasp why you’d want to spend so much money to get high for half and hour to an hour, and possibly die after you take a toke.”
He also doesn’t understand why dealers would sell something that’s possibly fatal to their customer base.
But Det. Sgt. Merrimen suggests those who are dealing opiates aren’t thinking that far ahead.
“The addictive qualities of opiates also result in some users seeking out the most potent alternative available. This makes dealers who are selling fentanyl more popular with some users. However, there will be other opiate users who will avoid fentanyl dealers because of the dangers involved.”
If it’s mixed in with other drugs, it’s most likely to be mixed into other kinds of opiates, like heroin, explained Merrimen.
That’s why police and health officials are urging people not to use drugs alone, and to carry a naloxone kit, which saves lives by temporarily reversing the effects of overdose.
But for Kevin, there is no temporary reversal.