Commentaries, Pharmaceutical Policy
A call to the emergency room announced that the ambulance was on its way. Joey, a middle-aged oilfield worker, was experiencing a suspected toxic ingestion of the opioid, fentanyl.
As Canadians, we are proud of our universal healthcare system, which provides publicly-funded essential doctor and hospital care based on need and not ability to pay. Unfortunately, our health system falls short when it comes to prescription medication.
There’s nothing like an American health care debate to make Canadians feel lucky.
Across Canada, the tragic spike in opioid-related deaths has brought to national attention the large and complex issue of drug use and misuse.
Four years ago, at age 84, my dad survived a severe stroke. The downside is that during his hospital stay this otherwise fit person was put on a drug regimen and has been taking nine prescription drugs a day ever since.
Surveys and polls often show Canadians are proud of our universal health system, which provides publicly funded care for doctor and hospital services. Canadians don’t have to worry about filing for bankruptcy to get care for themselves or their families when they need it.
Over the past year I’ve lost track of how many times the opioid epidemic has, in one incarnation or another (Prince, naloxone, fentanyl, newborns in agonizing withdrawal and so on) found its way onto the front page news.
Hundreds of codeine tablets stolen from the medicine cabinet of an elderly person living alone in a rural community. Hydromorphone tablets being distributed at weddings and high school parties. Fentanyl patches being cut up and sold for a profit on the street. This is the reality of the opioid crisis in Canada today
The case of ‘too much medication’ in Canadian seniors is finally starting to be recognized for the serious problem it has become.
By all accounts we are in the midst of a deadly drug epidemic so severe and widespread few people in North America will remain untouched by it.
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