Labelled an effort to fight the growing issue of opioid addiction here within the province of Ontario, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has announced that the provincial drug formulary (ODB) will no longer be covering high-dose long-acting opioids over 200mg MED (Morphine Equivalent Dose) as of January 2017.
A report released by Christopher Mackie, Medical Officer of Health of the Middlesex-London Health Unit, sounds the alarm on the skyrocketing rates of HIV, Hepatitis C, Invasive Group A Streptococcal Disease, and infective endocarditis amongst intravenous drug users in London, Ontario (my hometown).
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.
There are plenty of ideas on how to best address the growing opioid epidemic, ranging from harsher enforcement of drug laws, harm reduction initiatives, to the complete legalization of drugs. One of these ideas, creating tamper-resistant or tamper-proof opioids, has been on my personal radar lately. It's a thorny subject, with passionate arguments on both sides. It all begs the question - to tamper-proof, or not to tamper-proof?
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!
I've never been one to faithfully keep track of my sober dates. I have no idea exactly when I stopped using opiates intravenously; only an approximate guess. However when it came to quitting smoking, I shared many of my struggles through Twitter and here on my Blog, so this time around I do know my exact quit date. As of May 14th, 2016, I will officially have 6 months free of Tobacco and Nicotine. How's it going, you ask? Well... if you're looking for an honest answer, there's good days and bad.
Since starting this blog back in the Spring of 2014, I've received plenty of different questions from my readers and commenters. I've addressed a few of them over time in my various blog posts and tweets, but I wanted to go a step further and address the most common questions I'm asked - all in one place.
Recently it was said by a Senator in the US that “good people don’t use cannabis”. This was in discussion about drug laws, decriminalization, and the entire War on Drugs issue that has so many tongues wagging recently, particularly with cannabis legalization efforts in many jurisdictions and a new “opioid overdose crisis” which has always existed but is finally killing people outside the lower income brackets. It reflects an attitude of much of his constituency, and indeed which prevails even with well-meaning advocates of decriminalization and harm reduction measures. The common viewpoint has absolutely no insight into the way people use drugs, and who uses them in the first place.
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.
This past Friday, I had the opportunity to appear on CBC Radio One's 'The Current' with Anna Tremonti for an episode discussing the rise in Methadone prescribing in Ontario, and whether it has gone too far. The segment, entitled "Methadone treatment overused in Ontario, addiction experts warn", was guest hosted by journalist Connie Walker, and featured guests Dr. David Marsh of the Northern Ontario School Of Medicine, Dr. Benedikt Fischer of the Centre For Addiction And Mental Health, as well as myself.
By K. Lanktree
- Freelance Writer -
- Blog Mistress -
- Former IV Drug User -
- Methadone Patient -
- Lover of all things Harm Reduction -
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