No plans to make Suboxone more easily available in Ontario, Deb Matthews says

Photo by Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail

Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews says the province has no immediate plans to put Suboxone on the Ontario Drug Benefit, which would make it more readily available to treat addicts who can’t get methadone, a more common treatment for opioid addiction. Health-care practitioners, especially in remote areas, want to use Suboxone more in cases where there are simply no licensed methadone doctors around, or no spaces available. Buprenorphine, the active ingredient in Suboxone, is supposed to be safer and easier for others (nurses, for example) to give out. It’s also really expensive.

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As more drugs crack down on oxycodone abuse, addiction experts fear public insurance limits don’t go far enough

Photo by Michelle Siu for the Globe and Mail

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 – Globe and Mail
ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY

Nova Scotia has become the latest province to clamp down on OxyContin prescriptions, with Health Minister Maureen MacDonald announcing the province will only pay for the potent painkiller’s replacement in extenuating circumstances – for cancer-related pain or palliative care.

Nova Scotia’s move comes days after Ontario, with the highest rates of prescription-opioid addiction in the country, announced it is tightening rules for the painkiller.

Physicians called the move a step forward, but warned that changing publicly funded drug plans won’t be nearly enough to stem abuse from the prescription drug.

“There is a lot more that needs to be done,” said David Juurlink, a drug-safety specialist at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto. “These drugs should be harder to obtain, harder to prescribe – and certainly at high doses.”

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Provinces clamp down on OxyContin abuse

Photo by Michelle Siu for the Globe and Mail

Saturday, February 18, 2012 – Globe and Mail
ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY

The epicentres of Canada’s prescription pill problem have said they’ll only pay for the leading brand of potent painkillers under special circumstances – one of the most dramatic steps taken in years to tackle the country’s fastest-growing addiction.

Purdue Pharmaceuticals, which manufactures OxyContin, is replacing it with a drug that’s supposed to be less prone to abuse. But some provinces have decided that’s not good enough.

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Treating the tiny victims of Canada’s fastest-growing addiction

Laura holds Carter at their home in Hamilton, ON. He was born with the shakes, the sweats, stiff limbs and sneezing fits, hospitalized and on morphine for three weeks. He's now home, and healthy.
Photo by Glenn Lowson for the Globe and Mail

Saturday, January 7, 2012 – Globe and Mail
ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY

HAMILTON — Hours after his birth, stiff-limbed and trembling, Carter was whisked away to a bassinet in a neonatal intensive care unit and fed morphine through a dropper.

He broke out in sweats, a fine sheen clinging to his neck and scalp, when, weeks later, nurses started to wean him off. His mother, Laura, who asked to be identified by her first name only, knew exactly what he was going through: She’d experienced withdrawal before.

“That was the worst part. Knowing what it feels like, and knowing a little baby … it’s the worst feeling in the world, you know? You don’t want your child to go through that.”

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