With COVID-19 at the fore of many people’s minds, other things can be overlooked. Unfortunately, this is seemingly the case for drug overdoses. According to Avery Haines in her article, “‘Man, I’ve seen a lot of people die’: Canada’s other health crisis,”
In the first nine months of 2020, during the first wave of the pandemic, nearly 1,700 people died from overdoses in Ontario alone. That’s a 55 per cent increase over last year. In Alberta, during that same time period, more people died from overdoses than from COVID-19.
Do you know the side effects of acetaminophen – Tylenol? What about the side effects of Aspirin?
Many of us take over-the-counter medication on a regular basis. Due in part to the fact that these medications are available without prescription and are taken so freely and frequently, it is not uncommon for their side effects to be ignored and/or indeed unknown to us. Unfortunately, this lack of knowledge can have serious consequences. For example, in a 2006 FDA report, approximately 46,000 emergency room visits/year were related to acetaminophen overdoses.
In a recent online article found on huffingtonpost.ca, some popular medications and their side effects are identified. If you have not already read it, you may wish to do so. As Stephanie Hallett, the article’s author states, “Potentially serious side effects for popular medications are more common than you may think.”
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.”
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)