Canadian Opioid Crisis

January 29, 2018 Source: Internal

Canada is currently facing an opioid crisis that claimed the lives of 2458 Canadian residents in 2016. Opioid addiction is a public health concern that requires the collaboration between numerous parties including healthcare professionals, governments, communities, and individual members of society. In this blog, I will discuss key strategies and initiatives to help combat the opioid crisis.

Supervised injection sites are legal and medically-supervised facilities designed to reduce harm and prevent deaths from opioid overdoses. Users are encouraged to come to these facilities to administer their drugs in a safe environment. The facilities are supervised by trained personnel who can respond when an overdose does occur and administer life-saving care. Supervised injection sites are a crucial tool that helps prevent deaths from opioid overdoses and provides individuals the opportunity to seek addictions counselling. Users of opioids should be made aware of supervised injection sites, and more funding of such programs by the government is needed to better protect the lives of Canadian residents.

On an individual level, members of society should be better educated on how to recognize and deal with opioid overdoses. Naloxone, commonly referred to as Narcan, is an anti-opioid that reverses the physiological effects of opioids for 45 minutes, which provides paramedic personnel ample time to reach and manage the victim’s condition. More educational programs on naloxone should be funded and provided to all members of society, including users and non-users of opioid drugs. .

Lastly, healthcare professionals should be held responsible for better prescription of opioid medications. Between 2000 and 2010, the consumption of prescribed opioids doubled. The dosages of opioid medications consistently increased. With our current opioid crisis, healthcare professionals should be better educated on how to best utilize opioid medications. Prescribing opioids are clearly beneficial for some patients, but for others, it should be used as a last-resort and only when alternative forms of treatment, such as physiotherapy or naturopathic medications, are exhausted. .

The opioid crisis is a public health issue that requires the collaboration between numerous members of society. It is time that everyone focuses on the opioid issue before it is too late. .