Rogue Ontario Pharmacists Dealing Opioids

Posted by CDR Help Desk on Oct 15, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Rogue Ontario Pharmacists Dealing Opioids

An investigation conducted by Global, the Toronto Star, and the Ryerson Journalism department has uncovered hundreds of Ontario pharmacists dealing opioids and other drugs from their stores. The provincial government has monitors that oversee the prescribing and dispensing of opioids but no pharmacist has been caught drug dealing as a result of these monitors in the last five years. The investigation analyzed disciplinary records from the Ontario College of Pharmacists from 2013 to 2017. It found 241 pharmacists responsible for distributing huge and lethal amounts of opioids to the streets, defrauding provincial drug plans, sexual harassment of patients and employees, and fatal dispensing errors. During the time period in question, just 15 pharmacists were sanctioned by the College for illegal dealing of prescription medication. “Nearly 3.5 million doses of prescription drugs disappeared from Ontario pharmacies from 2013 to 2017, the data shows. And the growth is startling: from about 2, 200 reports of drug losses in 2013 to more than 30, 000 last year.” Three-quarters of the drug loss reports list the reason for the loss as “unexplained”. Dr. David Juurlink, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Toronto, said that many people who have an opioid addiction began with experimenting with a pill that was prescribed to someone else. Therefore, while most opioid deaths are due to illegal fentanyl, those people often started using legal forms of opioids like prescription hydromorphone. One convicted Ontario pharmacist was found to have trafficked more than 5000 fentanyl patches worth more than $1 million dollars on the street. Another convicted Ontario pharmacist had forged prescriptions for dead people to cover his tracks. Yet the role pharmacists have to play in alleviating the opioid crisis has not been looked at by the provincial government. Allan Malek, executive vice-president of the Ontario Pharmacists Association, sits on the Ministry of Health’s opioid emergency task force. He says there has been no concerns or discussion of pharmacists who deal and traffic drugs. Drug wholesalers are not required to report suspiciously large opioid orders. The Narcotics Monitoring System (NMS) was introduced in 2012 to identify and reduce the misuse and diversion of monitored drugs. It has not caught a single errant pharmacist. The Health Ministry spokesperson said the NMS was not established to proactively detect diversion or criminal activity. This clearly conflicts with the mission statement the NMS itself has, and shows the provincial government trying to deflect blame for not catching these problems sooner. References: Dispensing Harm The post Rogue Ontario Pharmacists Dealing Opioids appeared first on Canada Drug...

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BC Sues Drug Companies Over Opioid Crisis

Posted by CDR Help Desk on Sep 27, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

BC Sues Drug Companies Over Opioid Crisis

At the tail end of August, the BC Attorney General David Eby and Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy announced in a joint statement that the province of BC is launching a lawsuit against more than 40 drug companies in relation to the current opioid crisis. The province is alleging that the opioid manufacturers knew about the addictive traits of the drugs and downplayed the severity when marketing the drugs to doctors. Will this Solve the Opioid Crisis? Unlikely, and there are mixed responses to the government’s strong stance. There are detractors who say that BC is focusing on the wrong issue. The opposition BC Liberals believe the BC NDP government is diverting resources away from front-line services to a court case that will likely take years. However, the director of the Health Law Institute at Dalhousie University believes it is a step in the right direction. This is the first time a provincial government has held manufacturers to account and could provide a strong precedent for the future. Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin and one of the named drug companies in the lawsuit, plead guilty in 2007 in the USA to felony misbranding of OxyContin with intent to defraud, and charges of misbranding. Purdue paid over USD$634 million in fines. BC is suing for public health expenses, and if the province wins, those funds would be a huge relief to the front-line effort. The majority of overdose deaths are still due to illegal opioids. The BC Centre for Disease Control has released numbers for the first half of 2018, and between January and June, 742 people died by unintentional overdose in BC, mostly due to fentanyl. The Minister of Mental Health and Addictions agreed the majority of overdoses in BC are due to illegal opioids but said it is unclear how many of those people initially became addicted to their prescription medication. However, the province intends to propose new legislation in the next month or two to gather population-based evidence to prove their claims. We will report back as updates unfold. If you are looking to stop taking opioids, contact our specialist to find a program near you. References: BC Sues Opioid Makers for ‘Negligence and Corruption’ About Addiction Risks Court Fines OxyContin Maker $634M US If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction to opioids in British Columbia, you can use the Canada Drug Rehab site as one of the leading directories of drug rehab programs in Canada as your first step. For example, start your search for British Columbia drug rehab programs on this site, or call the help line at 866-462-6362. This website also has a city-by-city listing of drug rehab programs such as Vancouver drug rehab programs or Vancouver Island drug rehab programs, etc. JMC, 2018.09.14 The post BC Sues Drug Companies Over Opioid Crisis appeared first on Canada Drug...

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Newfoundland’s Mental Health and Addictions Plan

Posted by CDR Help Desk on Sep 25, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Newfoundland’s Mental Health and Addictions Plan

The All-Party Committee on Mental Health and Addictions released Newfoundland‘s Mental Health and Addictions Plan, Toward Recovery: A Vision for a Renewed Mental Health and Addictions System for Newfoundland and Labrador in March of 2017.  Just three months later the government released Toward Recovery: The Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan for Newfoundland and Labrador to address the 54 recommendations the previous report outlined. Newfoundland’s Mental Health and Addictions Plan has four main pillars that form the basis of the 54 recommendations: promotion, prevention, and early intervention; focusing on the person; improving service access, collaboration, and continuity of care; including all people everywhere. In order to assess the success of implementation of the recommendations, the government has committed to reporting back 6 months after inception, 12 months, and 24 months after. The first six-month report card has already been released so this blog will look at the recommendations as well as the updates. Short-Term Recommendations (to be completed by March 2018) in Brief work with schools, guidance counselors, and educational psychologists to improve early care and intervention for youth encourage post-secondary institutions to provide evidence-based mental health promotion and prevention programs for students Waterford hospital is a high priority: all services are located in one psychiatric hospital currently which is not ideal must replace existing hospital as well as increase community-based services wait times need to be addressed: CEO of each health authority must reduce wait times and waitlists within one year develop a standard procedure for collecting and reporting wait time data across health authorities regular public reporting of wait times and reduction progress help the public navigate the online mental health and addictions services push public and private health insurance companies to align plans with individual needs amend legislation to provide more support for family members and caregivers of those with mental illnesses or substance use issues strengthen knowledge sharing with primary care providers so information is disseminated to the public psychiatrists must provide more regular visits to Labrador coastal communities recruit two permanent full-time psychiatrists for Labrador to ensure coverage for new mental health beds, emergency departments, and outpatient clinics provide general education to community leaders and policymakers about specific population groups like elders, LGBT to increase understanding establish accountability and performance monitoring and reporting framework to track results Positive Progress Made Within one year of implementation of Newfoundland’s Mental Health and Addictions Plan, the province has seen a 35% reduction in the number of people waiting for treatment. The average wait to see a mental health professional in St. John’s was 21 months and is now 24 days. The Burin Peninsula was an area of concern after a cluster of suicides led to people calling for more mental health services. Wait times there have reduced from 180 days to 0. The provincial Liberal government has pledged to implement all 54 recommendations from the committee by March of 2022. All 18 short-term recommendations, listed briefly above, have been achieved already, including the two new permanent full-time psychiatrists in Labrador. As part of the effort to increase the effectiveness of the mobile crisis intervention response team, 161 home visits were made in April 2018 compared to 84 in April last year. The Department of Health plans to spend just under $200 million on mental health and addictions care in 2018 and 2019. Newfoundland and Labrador has a big set of challenges against it as it is such a large area with a small population and revenue, however, it has demonstrated one of the best plans we have reviewed so far. Not only does the plan detail when recommendations must...

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Could Gene Therapy Erase Cocaine Addiction?

Posted by CDR Help Desk on Sep 19, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Could Gene Therapy Erase Cocaine Addiction?

Researchers at the University of Chicago have released a study that outlines how a new gene therapy has the potential to squash cravings and protect against overdoses in regards to cocaine use. There is an enzyme found in blood plasma that breaks up cocaine into harmless byproducts. However, the enzyme is not potent enough in its naturally occurring form to help those who have cocaine problems. The researches rewrote DNA in mouse skin stem cells to create an enhanced enzyme that is 4,400 times more potent than its natural state. These genetically engineered stem cells are called organoids. They are implanted under the skin where they then release the enzyme into the blood. The research team has done tests on mice who received the organoids. These mice survived overdoses of cocaine that killed other mice who had not received organoids. The test mice also no longer had an interest in cocaine. The enzyme effectively removes cocaine from the system so the animal no longer gets the high that attracted them in the first place, and also means they cannot overdose and die. The implications for humans are huge. Removing illicit and/or unsafe drugs from the body as soon as they are taken in could save untold lives. Lead researcher Ming Xu said lab studies suggest that similar organoids could be implanted in humans and release the special enzyme for 20 to 30 years. Rather than a short-term intervention, this gene therapy could be the long-lasting aid for those who struggle with cocaine. The research team is also tackling other substances with genetically-engineered cells. Alcohol, nicotine, and opioids are all being researched in a similar manner, hopefully, we will be able to provide updates on these soon. If you are looking for drug rehab or alcohol treatment in Canada contact our specialist for personalized help. References: Cure for Cocaine Addiction in Reach, say Scientists The post Could Gene Therapy Erase Cocaine Addiction? appeared first on Canada Drug...

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Public Addiction Treatment in Newfoundland and Labrador: Drug Rehab and Alcohol Treatment Resources

Posted by CDR Help Desk on Sep 17, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Public Addiction Treatment in Newfoundland and Labrador: Drug Rehab and Alcohol Treatment Resources

There are four provincial health authorities in Newfoundland and Labrador. In order to access addiction treatment in Newfoundland, you must determine if you are located in the Eastern Health, Central Health, Western Health, or Labrador-Grenfell Health region. The health authorities offer services for both substance use and process addictions like gambling, as well as services for those who are using and those who are affected by a loved one’s use. Newfoundland offers outpatient counseling, early intervention for youth, adult residential treatment, detox, opioid treatment, and crisis support. Outpatient Addiction Treatment in Newfoundland The province has 26 outpatient offices that offer counseling in individual, family, or group formats, as well as other outreach services. Most of these offices will not require a referral to attend, and once there you will be assessed so a treatment plan can be made. From there, the office may give you referrals to other clinics or specialists. Inpatient Drug and Alcohol Treatment The Humberwood Treatment Centre is part of Western Health and is located in Corner Brook. It runs a three-week program for both men and women over 19 years of age. The program includes group and private counseling, education sessions, and leisure therapy. Upon completion of the treatment program, clients are able to access after-care through outpatient offices to help them stay on track. To attend this program you must be referred by an addictions counselor or another professional who can provide a treatment assessment. Youth Drug and Alcohol Treatment For youth aged 12 – 18, the Rowan Centre offers day treatment to help with both substance and process addictions. The Centre is in St. John’s and run by Eastern Health. Approximately ten youth are in the program at any one time and the programs run for three to four months. Following the program attendees will also have access to after-care services. Detox and Opioid Treatment Also in St. John’s is The Recovery Centre which is a public non-medical detox. Men and women over 16 can access the services there which include outpatient services. Unfortunately, if you require medically supervised detox you must go to a hospital. If you are looking for opioid specific treatment and want to be on a methadone maintenance treatment plan, the Opioid Treatment Centre is in St. John’s and is also provided by Eastern Health. Due to the small population size yet large land area, addiction treatment in Newfoundland is not at the same level as some of the other provinces. If you are struggling to find drug rehab and/or alcohol treatment programs in Newfoundland and Labrador, navigate your options contact our specialist for assistance. JMC, 2018.09.14 The post Public Addiction Treatment in Newfoundland and Labrador: Drug Rehab and Alcohol Treatment Resources appeared first on Canada Drug...

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Drug Fact Sheet: Opioids and Opiates

Posted by CDR Help Desk on Sep 13, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Drug Fact Sheet: Opioids and Opiates

With the ongoing opioid crisis being felt in Toronto, Vancouver, and most towns and cities across North America, many could use a refresher on what opioids are and why they affect the human body so strongly. In the past, opioid referred only to synthetic opiates, drugs that were chemically created to mimic opium. Opiates referred only to drugs derived from opium that is naturally occurring in the poppy plant. However, most medical professionals and the media now use opioid as the general term. What is an Opioid? “An opioid is any agent that binds to opioid receptors (protein molecules located on the membranes of some nerve cells) found principally in the central nervous system and gastrointestinal tract and elicits a response.” Morphine, methadone, oxycodone, and heroin are examples of opioids you may be familiar with. There are four classes of opioids: Endogenous opioids. These naturally occur in the body as endorphins. Opium alkaloids. Examples are morphine and codeine. Semi-synthetic opioids, like heroin and oxycodone. Fully synthetic opioids. For example, methadone. How do Opioids Affect the Body? The human brain has opioid receptors, so when opioids are injested they attach to those receptors in the brain. The effects include dulling pain, slowed breathing, and a general calm feeling. Naturally occurring opioids like endorphins cannot cause a person to overdose. When opioids are injested they can give the user feelings of intense euphoria. A higher dose can depress the breathing to the point of overdose and death. Respiratory depression is the main cause of death in fatal opioid overdoses. This is especially concerning when opioids are taken in conjunction with other depressants like alcohol and two non-lethal doses combined can lead to a fatal overdose. What if I Have a Problem with Opioids? If it is hard for you to restrict your recreational use of opioids, or feel you are reliant on prescription opioids, there are lots of ways to get help. The federal government has made it easier across the provinces to access drugs like methadone and Suboxone. These drugs allow you to come off of opioids with minimal withdrawal sickness symptoms and come with a plan to eventually taper off of the maintenance medication too. To learn more about methadone and Suboxone read our article here. Our database of drug and alcohol rehabs in Canada makes note of the facilities that offer medical maintenance programs. If you need help navigating the site or have more questions, call or email our specialist here. References: Opiates/Opioids The post Drug Fact Sheet: Opioids and Opiates appeared first on Canada Drug...

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Where Addicts are Treated Like Human Beings