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.
Undoubtedly, there are occasions when we cannot find the right word to use, use the wrong one or are at a total loss of words. To some people and in some situations, such a word error may be seen as no big deal. However, this may not be the case, as Lorna Kay Thomas discusses in her blog post, “A Small Victory: Changing the CBC’s use of “drug abuser.”
“Not my loved ones,” you might be thinking, and I hope you’re right. It’s certainly easier to believe, as I once did, that the opioid crisis is some far-off threat, like a flood or fire in another province. The reality is that it may be bigger and closer than many of us want to admit. (Excerpt from a cbc.ca opinion piece written by Katherine Steinhoff.)
As you may be aware, more and more residents from the US are purchasing their prescription drugs from Canada, due to the lower prices. While this is increasing sales for pharmaceutical companies and their associates, there is a something more important that must be considered. Namely, what effect are the sales of Canadian medicine to our US neighbours having on Canada and we Canadians?
According to a number of professional groups, the outcome of these prescription sales may result in drug shortages Canada. This, in turn, can have negative repercussions on the healthcare of Canadians. As a letter sent by groups representing patients, health professionals, hospitals, and pharmacists to Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor states, “‘The Canadian medicine supply is not sufficient to support both Canadian and U.S. consumers…The supply simply does not, and will not, exist within Canada to meet such demands.”of the potential for increasing drug shortages.'” Read more about thishere.
The importance of the patient is becoming more recognized in the healthcare sector. However, in many instances, including the pharmaceutical area, the patient is seen as simply something to talk to or to talk about.
According to a recent blog post by Mike Rea, this stance is limited and limiting in terms of who patients are and what they have to offer. As he asks in his post.
But, instead of talking to patients, what if we started listening? Not just to what they ‘need’, but what else they want? There are so many incredible groups out there now – potent patient groups (MMRF, MDA, Savvy Patients and more), who want to talk to us, who want to share. But, start to listen, and there will be a hundred hands that go up to stop you doing that.
If you or someone you know has been affected by pain, here is something you may find of interest.
A group of Albertans is developing the Alberta Pain Strategy. The purpose of the strategy is to:
Outline a coordinated, provincial approach to addressing the complex issue of pain, starting with priorities;
Capture the considerable amount of work already underway across the province related to pain and the use of opioids within a single strategy document;
Build on successes and identify and focus on the remaining gaps.
To this end, the Alberta Pain Strategy team is seeking your thoughts, feedback and input. Please take a few minutes to read this short document and complete the online survey found here. The survey will be available until September 17, 2018.
If you are take any medication, whether it be doctor initiated prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs or herbal remedies, you are apt to be doing do so in hopes of getting a particular outcome (e.g., less pain, greater mobility, etc.) However, can the medication you are taking actually make you sicker? Unfortunately, the answer is “Yes.” Click here to find out more.
“Did you know that the time of day when you take your blood pressure medication might be important? The University of Alberta is leading BedMed, a Canada-wide blood pressure study, to answer important questions on treatment for high blood pressure. With your help, we can find out.” (Bedmed Facebook Page.)