Tailoring a program to tackle homelessness and alcoholism saves lives Maybe it’s time we woke up and realized that how we’ve been dealing with a certain segment of homeless people in this city just isn’t working. You probably know the ones I mean: you pass by them if you walk downtown on your way […]
Rising rates of long-term prescription-opioid use highlight urgent need for treatment options for chronic pain and addiction
Across Canada, the tragic spike in opioid-related deaths has brought to national attention the large and complex issue of drug use and misuse.
North America is grappling with an opioids epidemic. British Columbia has even declared a public health emergency because of a significant increase in opioid-related overdoses and deaths. Dr. David Juurlink, Head of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Toronto, and Tara Gomes, Epidemiologist and Scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital and […]
Au cours de la dernière année, je ne compte plus les fois où l’épidémie d’opioïdes, sous une forme ou une autre (Prince, naloxone, fentanyl, nouveau-nés souffrant du syndrome de sevrage, et j’en passe) s’est retrouvée à la une des journaux.
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.
In my first career as a pharmacist, I worked in more than 30 pharmacies across Nova Scotia, filling more than 100,000 prescriptions between 1990 and 1995. Some of these were for strong painkillers called opioids — drugs like morphine and oxycodone, which are chemically and biologically very similar to heroin.
“The misuse of opioids has grown exponentially with devastating consequences” – First Do No Harm: Responding to Canada’s Prescription Drug Crisis (Canadian Council on Substance Abuse, 2013).
Mental illness and addictions take a toll that can be measured in human costs, healthcare costs and costs to society. Approximately one in five Canadians experience a mental illness or addiction each year and 50% will experience one in their lifetime.