Opposition calls for action on Ontario opioid deaths

November 13, 2014 – Anna Mehler Paperny, Global News

Ontario needs to rethink the way it treats addiction and pain if it wants to tackle a worsening prescription opioid health crisis, critics say.

Preliminary figures obtained by Global News indicate opioids are killing more Ontarians than ever before – and the province has no plan to shift away from its one-drug crackdown even as the opioid crisis shifts to such less-notorious drugs as Fentanyl and Hydromorph Contin.

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Ontario doctors still in the dark on drug database

Remember back when Ontario rolled out an online narcotics-prescription database – one meant to track exactly who is prescribing what to whom? The idea is to prevent “double-doctoring” and ensuring that doctors, pharmacists and Health Ministry officials ensure that people who need drugs are getting them.

The database was in testing phase as of November, 2011 and was supposed to be operational early this year. But the people prescribing the drugs still can’t access it. That means they have no idea what other drugs a potential patient could be taking, or was taking. In some cases, it means patients can’t get the drugs they need.

Toronto doctor Irfan Dhalla said doctors still have no idea when they’re going to get in on this database – but they’d really, really like to.