Please read this article from Tom Blackwell at the National Post:
Many of you know I am an advocate for a balance of Eastern & Western medicine, when living with and treating Chronic Pain. Although, I strongly suggest using ANY therapy that may work, I also understand opioids are a necessity for many of us. I am a Canadian and benefit from a universal health care program, but it does NOT cover acupuncture, naturopathic care, physiotherapists, massage therapists and many other alternative medicinal techniques. This leaves many chronic patients, without any relief save that of narcotics.
As some people abuse opioids and it has been widely publicized, this leads to a huge stigma regarding prescriptions. This media frenzy and people who have NO CLUE what it is like to live in constant, unending, permanent pain, have caused many Dr.s reticent to prescribe opioids for long-term pain issues.
In Ontario, as of November of 2011, we have to show ID each time we get a controlled substance. OK, whatever, I mean, my friend could go pick up my meds and who is to say that really is my friend.? They only have to say “I am picking up for so and so and here is my Drivers licence”. If you are a criminal, why wouldn’t you have fake ID.? f you are an addict, why wouldn’t you go to any lengths to get drugs? This is a stupid practice. You also have to get a written prescription – each time there is a renewal or change in your opioids – this IS a good change. This will help in making sure that people don’t Dr. shop or submit fake prescriptions.
With the information in this article; MAYBE watching how these drugs are getting distributed and MAYBE putting in dramatic measures to ensure secure delivery of these medications, might be more important than providing ID. Drug delivery to pharmacies is not a very secure practice. It would be very easy to stalk a pharmacy, note their delivery times and steal it. It isn’t like when money is getting delivered to a bank, prescription delivery is a UPS guy who is probably not much bigger than me, dragging a dolly of boxes up to the store. I worked in a bank for several years and know what went into delivering money. The measures were very strict and protocol was followed every time. How many bank robberies do you hear about? Also, think about how many people who work in a warehouse are not making all that much money and working their arses off. Some might consider $40/pill for Oxycontin a simple way to supplement their income. It would only take 100 pills to make a good profit (that is non-taxable too!). I am not saying all these people would do it, for sure, but come on – doesn’t seem plausible?
Maybe we should look at the people who have died of overdoses? Are they pain patients who have been appropriately managed? Or are they addicts who have bought drugs online, in the street or through false prescriptions.
It isn’t so easy to get narcotics prescribed, as many people might want to believe. Although, I have had Tramadol try to “Friend” me on Facebook – I mean what is up with that? (I of course declined).
So Ontario – and those naysayers about those who actually NEED medicine – take a read of this article and maybe give it a thought or two? It could be possible that it isn’t the Pain Patients who are the addicts or contributors to those who overdose? This is the first article I have read (in 8.5 years), that points the overdose issue at something other than the patient.
It has also been said that opioid prescriptions have increased in Ontario. Why don’t we also look at:
- reduction in coverage for alternative care (i.e. physio, acupuncture),
- Americans coming North for cheaper meds
- increase in aging population
- increase in stress and therefore increase in conditions like Fibromyalgia
- lack of proper GP’s, Physicians who truly understand pain
- and lack of resources for chronic pain
Hope you find Mr. Blackwells’ article interesting – I certainly did. It is about time that standards, regulations and focus on this issue went to where it isn’t about the person who suffers an invisible illness – that has no end in sight. Food for thought?
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Interesting Note – within 15 minutes of publishing this article – I received 5 spam comments from narcotic/pharmaceutical related urls???? Could we maybe look at online issues too?