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Robson Valley opioid clinic needed: local doctors

An opioid agonist treatment clinic could serve the 3,225 people (2016 Census) living in the communities of Dome Creek, Urling, Crescent Spur, Goat River, McBride, Dunster, Tête Jaune Cache, and Valemount within the the 15,220 square km McBride/Valemount Community Health Service Area. Map courtesy Provincial Health Services Authority.

By Fran Yanor / Legislative Reporter
Published on: Novermber 14, 2020

[Excerpts] The Robson Valley has a community need for a dedicated opioid treatment clinic for people dealing with substance use addictions and mental health issues, say two Valemount physicians.

“We have been looking at trying to start up an opioid agonist therapy clinic,” said Dr. Ray Markham, chief of staff at the Valemount Health Centre. “I certainly don’t think a formal clinic is the panacea, but it may offer a couple layers of depth to the way that we can support members of our community.”

Opioid Agonist Treatment (OAT) provides patients with access to a prescribed opioid alternative, such as methadone or suboxone, to help manage substance use cravings and withdrawal symptoms. The medication is part of a larger treatment plan to help stabilize and support people so they can more effectively engage in therapy, counselling, and other aspects of recovery.

“It’s not just about prescribing,” said Markham. “There is a whole bunch of crossover with complex chronic pain and mental health.”

One-stop clinic
“It is super helpful to have a one-stop shop clinic,” said Maureen Davis, executive director of the Canadian Mental Health Association operations in Prince George. “Having a doctor, a nurse practitioner, a social worker, an addiction counselor, having access to all those different kinds of support means you’ve just broadened options for the clients.”

For the full article, click on: https://www.therockymountaingoat.com/2020/11/robson-valley-opioid-clinic-needed-local-doctors/


Can medical marijuana help combat the opioid epidemic? Maybe not, new study finds.

Previous studies found medical marijuana legalization correlated with fewer opioid overdose deaths. New research finds otherwise.
By German Lopez
VOX June 11, 2019
One of the prominent arguments in favor of medical marijuana has been that it may help combat the opioid epidemic by giving doctors an alternative to opioids for treating pain. Some research supported the claim, indicating that states with legal medicinal marijuana had seen fewer opioid overdose deaths than states without legal medical cannabis.

But a new study has called this argument and the research supporting it into question.

Previous studies, particularly a widely cited 2014 study, found a correlation at the state level between the legalization of medical cannabis and fewer overdose deaths. That line of research indicated that medical marijuana may lead to a reduction in overdoses, under the theory that people could use cannabis to treat pain rather than opioids. Some state lawmakers embraced the studies, citing them to legalize medical pot or allow medical marijuana to help treat opioid addiction.
But a new study, which uses the same methodology and data as the 2014 study that kicked off this line of research, found the trend has reversed: Medical marijuana is now correlated with more opioid overdose deaths. The new study, published in PNAS, found that medical marijuana was correlated with fewer opioid overdose deaths from 1999 to 2010. But using newer data up to 2017, the study found that states with medical marijuana laws actually saw more opioid overdose deaths.

The researchers argue that the correlation is spurious — suggesting that there’s no broad, generalizable connection between medical marijuana and opioid overdose deaths, and the previously found link was likely a coincidence.

“We, the authors, think it’s a mistake to look at that and say, ‘Oh, cannabis was saving people 10 years ago and it’s killing people now,” Chelsea Leigh Shover, the lead author of the study, told me. “We think a more likely interpretation is that passing medical cannabis laws just is not affecting opioid deaths at the population level.”


Daphne Bramham: Decriminalization is no silver bullet, says Portugal’s drug czar

Vancouver Sun, updated: September 14, 2018
Goulão [Portugal’s director-general of drug policy] “…..Portugal’s success isn’t because of decriminalization. It’s because, in 2001, his country made a commitment to providing whatever its citizens need to be as healthy and as fully engaged in society as possible.”

“Decriminalization is not a silver bullet,” he said. “If you decriminalize and do nothing else, things will get worse.
“The most important part was making treatment available to everybody who needed it for free. This was our first goal.”

Underlying the policies is a national conviction that addiction is a chronic, recurring disease best dealt with through treatment not jail.

These days, Lisbon is no Vancouver. There are no cannabis shops, let alone one on almost every corner. The smell of marijuana doesn’t permeate downtown streets, or any streets for that matter. No fentanyl has yet been detected in the illicit drugs. So there’s no need for take-home naloxone kits, pop-up treatment tents or specialized training and trauma counselling for first-responders.

Goulão still can’t get over what he saw when he visited Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside last fall. “I was shocked. What I saw took me back to the end of the 1980s and 1990s in Lisbon with the public visibility of drug use and nuisance,” he said.
“What shocked me was that there are lots of responses but they do not seem to communicate. They’re not centred on what citizens need. … Citizens should be able to move through the system and get what they need.”

It’s got worse since his visit, with the overdose deaths only moderating slightly in the spring as B.C. entered its third year of a public health emergency.


Indigenous experts share harm reduction strategies at first-of-its-kind forum in Calgary

CBC News, Nov 15, 2019
Following dozens of opioid related overdoses and two states of emergency, the Blood Tribe’s chief and council have started looking for answers in their own backyard, and are now sharing their solutions with the broader Indigenous community.
Doctors and health care practitioners from across Canada gathered at a first-of-its-kind forum in Calgary focused on Indigenous harm reduction, to discuss the different strategies at work to combat addictions.
‘We’ve got to be open and willing to try things that are working for other nations,’ says Siksika councillor


Doctor-prescribed addiction: How these Canadians got hooked on opioids 

This is the first story in a four-part series about the pharmaceutical industry and the hold it has on Canada’s health-care system — swaying doctors’ opinions, funding medical schools and, ultimately, affecting the type of drugs we are prescribed.
July 29th, 2019