Out in the Streets

Dr. Jeff Turnbull gets a hug from Shelley, a client, after she gave him a Christmas card, at the Temporary Enhanced Shelter Program at the Shepherds of Good Hope in Ottawa’s Lowertown neighbourhood, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017. (Photograph by Justin Tang)


Have you heard of Dr. Jeffrey Turnbull? If not, reading the following will give you a sense of who he is and the important work he is doing.

“At 9:30 a.m. on a bitingly cold early-winter morning, Jeffrey Turnbull is preparing to head out on rounds. From a second-floor window in the ramshackle offices of Ottawa Inner City Health, the Peace Tower is visible in the distance, but Turnbull gestures out over the nearer, nondescript rooftops of Lowertown, describing the long-established homeless shelters there—and the new supervised injection clinic—that he’s about to visit.

A few minutes later, he’s parking his SUV outside the Shepherds of Good Hope, a shelter and soup kitchen, leading a small team that includes a mental health nurse into what they just call “the trailer.” It’s a former construction trailer set up recently behind “the Sheps,” fitted out as a cramped but orderly space where drug addicts can inject themselves with health care workers standing by.

Even on this weekday morning, it’s busy. About 130 addicts used the trailer the previous day. Turnbull has a brief meeting with staff there, then strides next door to a clinic for homeless women…” Click here to read the full article from the Macleans.ca.

Protocol prohibits transplant

Delilah Saunders is critically ill and requires a liver transplant. Unfortunately, she has been deemed ineligible based on a past history of alcohol use. What are your thoughts about this decision and the associated protocol?

Click here to read the story.

“Grey death?”

Much has been written in the news lately about Fentanyl, its effects and related addictions, overdoses, and fatalities. Unfortunately, there appears to be a new drug finding its way onto the scene. This drug, known as “Grey death,” is truly a mystery in terms of its contents and place of origin.

(CNN) — A new drug called “grey death” has been linked to a handful of lethal overdoses in the South — but no one knows exactly what’s in it or where it’s coming from. The drug, a mix of opioids, can kill in very small doses and looks like concrete mixing powder. “When I hear about something new like grey death, my first thought is, ‘Is there some novel compound we haven’t discovered yet?’ ” said Donna Iula, director of forensic chemistry at Cayman Chemical, a biotechnology company that works with federal and state crime labs to identify unknown street drugs.
Source: ‘Grey death:’ The powerfully fatal new drug that’s puzzling authorities

Click here to read the full article.

Definitely Worth Watching

The following was submitted by a member of the Patient 4 Change community. Thanks Shannon.

“Sharing this to help bring some context and understanding to the opioid crisis. This documentary is filmed in Alberta with a focus on Calgary and the Blood Tribe Reserve.

While the focus here is on long term users who are buying illegally – it’s really important to know that Alberta’s prescribing practices for opioid painkillers are mind boggling. Last year there were 1.8 million RXs written for opioids. Alberta’s population is 4.9 million. We are the highest opioid RX jurisdiction in the world.”

Click here to watch the video.

Walk Not Talk

The following quotation is from Robert, an individual who knows first hand what it is like to be addicted to drugs. As you read his words, ask yourself the following question.  “What can we do, individually and collectively, to provide assistance to Robert and others?  Now is not the time to ignore the current addiction crisis or pretend it does not exist. We have to do something, but what?”

“I’m tired of doing this…I don’t know what’s keeping me going. My family is like, Robert, what are you doing? My cousins are like, Robert, you’re a loser. I’ve heard it all, and they’re right. What have I done? I haven’t done s—. You try to regroup, you hear your grandson’s voice …”

“We need a little more compassion, a little more sensitivity, and not so much judging. I’m not going to be a poster boy, but walk a mile in my shoes, man.” (Toronto Star)

An Interesting Read

According to Carolyn Abraham:

What is clear is that North America’s baby boomers have found themselves in a perfect storm of self-destruction. For starters, boomers happened to reach the age of aches and pains just as highly addictive prescription opioid painkillers went mass market in the 1990s.

If you have not had the opportunity to read Abraham’s article entitled, “Against Opioid Abuse Among Baby Boomers,” click here to do so. 

Walking for a Cause

On Saturday, February 25th, some members of the Patients 4 Change community participated in the “Coldest Night of the Year” walk. This annual event saw hundreds of Calgarians bundling up and trekking 2, 5 or 10 km to raise money for the homeless, hungry and hurting.


Not only was this a great way to help others in the Calgary community, it also was a lot of fun. In fact, the Pts4Chg members, who walked under the name of “Team Goose Bump,” got so caught up in the excitement and conversation that they walked two blocks past a key corner that was to take them to the finish line. What’s a few more blocks added to a 10km walk?!

Looking forward  to next year’s event. 

In the Twittersphere 

The following @Pts4Chg tweet has generated some good conversation and idea generation in the Twittersphere and beyond.

As one individual tweeted, “Problem needs a systems approach. A great opportunity for AHS innovation lab.”

If you have not read the article referred to in the tweet, you may wish to do so. (Thanks, Sandi, for bringing this news story to our attention.)

Insight into Insite

nytinsite

Insite is the first legal supervised interjection site in North America.  Located in Vancouver, Canada, people can inject drugs in a safe place that is health focused.  The goal of Insite, which is operated and funded by Vancouver Coastal Health, is to “decrease the adverse health, social and economic consequences of drug use without requiring abstinence from drug use.” (http://supervisedinjection.vch.ca/) Continue reading