Episode 5 - Dr. Darryl Gebien


Dr. Darryl Gebien is an expert on the opioid crisis currently affecting Canadians, having himself been a fentanyl addict. As an emergency room doctor in Ontario, Gebien was prescribed opioids as painkillers and ultimately came to rely on them in order to self-medicate his psychological issues. After serving a two-year prison sentence for writing prescriptions for himself, Dr. Gebien now advocates for drug users, asking for greater empathy and compassion from government, law enforcement, and the public.

In this episode, Dr. Gebien discusses how his addiction developed, the most dangerous methods of fentanyl ingestion, and why building a community may be the most important step on the road to addiction recovery.


-Dr. Gebien describes the course of his fentanyl addiction and how everything spiraled out.

-The psychological issues that led Dr. Gebien to self-medicate.

-Exploring the different means addicts use to ingest fentanyl and the risks each method carries.

-How fentanyl powder complicates and obscures dosage, increasing the risk of overdose.

-The most surprising supporters of standardized fentanyl dosage distribution: high-level drug dealers.

-Dr. Gebien lays out his proposed solution to the opioid crisis.

-Recognizing that successful addiction treatment requires patients to overhaul their lifestyle.

-The limits of “safe injection site” as a program and as a term.

-Explaining “after-care” and the importance of building a community among recovering addicts.

-How shame and stigma only hampers the recovery of former addicts and can trigger relapses.

-Matt and Dr. Gebien take stock of how public and law enforcement perspectives toward addiction are already starting to change.


“Being arrested saved my life.”
“That rapid onset, it might sound enjoyable to some people but not the down part, not the crashing off of it.”
“Nobody knows what concentration it is. How strong is this stuff? That’s the issue: there’s no standardization there.”
“An experienced heroin user generally knows how to play it very careful, but even they are overdosing and dying these days.”
“It’s just Russian roulette in that situation and some people are losing the game of roulette and they’re dying.”
“The real way to treat addiction is a changing lifestyle.”
“It takes time to undo the behaviours associated with substance abuse.”
“Getting people together who are not afraid, talking about my problems, sharing my feelings and being with connected with others is a huge part of recovery.”
“It destroys their lives! Not to mention their dental hygiene.”
“This is not a moral failing. It is a form of mental illness.”
“The first tenet of caring for others is to not judge them.”


Dr. Gebien’s Twitter feed - @DGebien, https://twitter.com/dgebien

Dr. Gebien’s YouTube Channel - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRk3AMj6Vg_MQDmySZQqQfg/featured

Dr. Gebien's Fentanyl Strategy - www.sayknow.org/blog

Official Say Know homepage - http://www.sayknow.org/

Canadian Research Initiative of Substance Misuse (CRISM) Prairies website - https://crismprairies.ca/

SayKnow.org Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/sayknoworg

SayKnow.org Twitter feed - https://twitter.com/SayKnowOrg

Music provided by Redbull DJ Champ, Charly Hustle - http://www.charlyhustlemusic.com