Across Canada, the tragic spike in opioid-related deaths has brought to national attention the large and complex issue of drug use and misuse.
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.
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.
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.