I am an opioid user who is currently not using. Hold the applause; this isn’t about my “triumph” or whatever you want to call it. The time came for me to stop and I did, how is irrelevant. While I haven’t been using for about six months I am in a relationship with someone who is currently still using intravenously and this means I have to accommodate that fact in my life.
I must say, I've been fairly impressed with the changes made by our new Liberal government and Minister of Health, Jane Philpott. While the reaction time has been lagging, some significant steps have been taken in order to help protect the health and lives of Canadians who use drugs. While we aren't even halfway through 2016, let's take a look at what's changed so far this year!
In a fantastic step forward, Health Canada has announced the Naloxone Federal prescription status review results - and it's great news. Effective immediately, Naloxone is now available in Canada without a prescription.
A new formulation of Naloxone has received FDA 'Fast Track' designation for the treatment of opioid overdose.
I finally did it, you guys. Better late than never, right?
The Province of Ontario has become a leader in Canada when it comes to per-capita opioid prescribing and high-dose opioid dispensing, and along with it has earned 13 straight years of record setting opioid overdose fatalities. While it is far from the type of 'record' that Ontario should be proud of setting, it seems to sit relatively idle when it comes to taking action towards preventing the deadly issue of opioid overdose.
A group of drug strategy representatives from across the Province known as the Municipal Drug Strategy Co-ordinator’s Network of Ontario (MDSCNO) have taken up the tremendous task of releasing a detailed report on "key actions urgently needed to improve opioid safety and reduce accidental opioid overdose fatalities and injuries by expanding access to the emergency medicine naloxone." The summary report (released June 2015) entitled "Prescription For Life" calls upon the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada and all involved Agencies to take immediate action in order to help prevent accidental deaths and injuries due to opioid overdose.
It is not a dangerous medication. It has no potential for abuse or dependency. If administered to an opiate naive person, or someone who is not at risk of overdose, they will generally experience no side effects. In the worst case scenario it does absolutely nothing, but in the best case scenario it saves a person from overdose. So why has this 'overdose antidote' not been made more widely available and accessible during a time when drug overdoses now kill more people in the United States than car accidents?
Misconceptions are rampant amongst harm reduction initiatives. One of the most common misconceptions is that these types of initiatives actually encourage use and do more harm than good. Of course these misconceptions are no different when it comes to Naloxone distribution and over the counter use.
While Methadone and Suboxone have long held the title for the go-to treatment options for opiate addiction, there are exciting new treatments emerging that hope to provide relief for those still struggling to find a successful route to sobriety.
By K. Lanktree
- Freelance Writer -
- Blog Mistress -
- Former IV Drug User -
- Methadone Patient -
- Lover of all things Harm Reduction -
Help keep 'Studio L' online by donating to help offset the costs! Thanks💋