Half the doctors prescribing fentanyl in Manitoba aren’t following safety guidelines for the potent opioid, which is 100 times more powerful than morphine. And researchers say other provinces are likely as bad, if not worse.
August 10, 2015 – Anna Mehler Paperny, Global News
David Juurlink sees them daily — old and young, with strokes or pneumonia or broken bones or drug-related overdoses, accidents, constipation.
Their ailments and backgrounds and health conditions run the gamut. And they’re all on high doses of a drug five times more powerful than morphine.
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.
Nineteen thousand, two hundred and thirty-seven tablets.
That’s how many pills an Ontario pharmacy employee was able to steal before being caught in February – by far the biggest oxycodone theft reported from a Canadian hospital or pharmacy since January 2012, according to numbers Health Canada gave Global News.
Canada’s next painkiller crackdown won’t come from Ontario.
Its removal of OxyNEO from the Ontario Drug Benefit successfully sidelined Purdue’s replacement for what was once the most notoriously addictive opioid – OxyContin.
And the province now collects data on all prescriptions filled, not just those the government pays for.
But tackling Canada’s fastest-growing addiction is turning into a game of whack-a-mole: Prescriptions for just about every other potent painkiller are up – way up – in the past two years.