A Vending Machine in Canada Is Dispensing a Drug Twice as Strong as Heroin

A Vending Machine in Canada Is Dispensing a Drug Twice as Strong as Heroin

When he heard about Mark Tyndall’s plan to offer the opioid hydromorphone to people with addictions via a vending machine, Henry Fester wanted in.

Sold under the brand name Dilaudid, hydromorphone is best known in popular culture as the drug most prized by pharmacy robbers in the 1989 Gus Van Sant film, Drugstore Cowboy. It’s sometimes called “dilly” on the street; it’s around twice as strong as heroin.

Fester, a 62-year-old former Canadian television director, had been addicted to opioids for 30 years. He’d started with pain treatment, but then began buying drugs illegally. Now living in Vancouver’s fentanyl-infested Downtown Eastside, he wanted to protect himself—but he was not ready to quit and had not found to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.

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