The following article, which is a shocker, is in this week's CBC Health: Second Opinion. (Considering medical use of marijuana has been legal for years in Canada, and legislation for recreational use has been tabled, incredible!)
Data suggests 1 out of 7 Ontarians getting prescription opioids
Despite evidence that the current opioid addiction epidemic started because people took drugs that their doctors prescribed, the rate of opioid prescriptions is continuing to rise, at least in Ontario.
A new report by Health Quality Ontario found that 9 million Ontarians filled opioid prescriptions in 2015/16--that’s an increase of 450,000 prescriptions over three years.
And with almost 2 million people every year filling opioid prescriptions, it works out to about one in every seven Ontarians on some form of the highly addictive drug.
“We were surprised,” Joshua Tepper told us. He’s the president of Health Quality Ontario, an agency that advises the provincial government on health issues.
The provincial drug data showed a 30 per cent increase in prescriptions filled for hydromorphone, which is five times stronger than morphine, an increase Tepper said he can’t explain.
"I wonder whether we should consider how advertising to physician and patients might have shifted to hydromorphone and the influence that has," he said, adding that the opioid epidemic won’t be resolved by pointing fingers.
“I don’t’ want a naming, blaming, shaming culture for either the providers or patient.” Tepper told us. He knows first hand how difficult it is to help patients suffering from pain. It’s one of the most difficult conversations he has with his patients.
“Managing pain is a challenge, dependencies are a challenge. Part of my responsibility is to alleviate suffering and how do we do that without creating risk for patients and society?”