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Canada - Pandemic restrictions reshape opioid treatment as doctors sound alarm

S.J.B.

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Pandemic restrictions reshape opioid treatment as doctors sound alarm
Carrie Tait, Marcus Gee and Andrea Woo
The Globe and Mail
April 10th, 2020
Physicians across the country are relaxing their prescribing practices around medical treatment for opioid addictions in a bid to bolster physical distancing by cutting down on urinary drug screens and increasing the amount of methadone they give patients to take at home without supervision.

Health care professionals specializing in drug addictions were already struggling to cope with an epidemic of overdoses that has claimed thousands of lives across Canada before the worldwide pandemic. Now, the novel coronavirus is upending years of medical tradition and adding another layer of risk.

Doctors, nurses and harm-reduction experts are concerned their clients will catch the virus and succumb to it, given the often shaky health of those who use drugs. Access to supervised consumption sites for illicit substances and detox centres is also contracting, putting people who use street drugs at greater risk of overdosing.

Health Canada last month relaxed prescribing rules for some controlled drugs, making it easier for doctors and pharmacists to give people access to opioids. The changes mean some patients in opioid agonist therapy (OAT) programs will not have to make as many trips to pharmacies and clinics. It also means some OAT patients will have more access to larger quantities of medicine like methadone that can be fatal if not taken properly.

Patients in OAT programs take controlled doses of drugs such as methadone and buprenorphine-naloxone, which is known as suboxone, to manage opioid-withdrawal symptoms and create stability in their lives. Patients, particularly those on methadone, often have to take their doses under supervision at pharmacies or clinics. Stable patients are, over time, permitted to take home a limited number of doses, known as carries, but even the most trusted generally return to the clinic or pharmacy once a week for a supervised dose.
Read the full story here.
 

F.U.B.A.R.

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Canada sounds like the most progressive country in the world these days.


Shame it's so fuckin cold...
 

SunriseChampion

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Cold? You guys are insane. I work on a roof all year and I'll tell ya what, it ain't cold for at least 9 months a year...and in fact, when it's almost 40C out there....cold, my eye.

Also, there are palm trees in Vancouver. Just saying. ;)


I was just reading that article this morning and was pretty impressed with the rejigged guidelines. Straight from the top too. I think I got a new appreciation for Health Canada when I found out they're helping to fund our local GCMS/LCMS drug testing here in Toronto. They just keep going.
I'm hoping they get so far ahead of our politicians that the needed overhaul of our drugs policy become inevitable!
 
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sekio

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Vancouver has a tolerable, though admittedly still quite rainy climate. Best place to go as far as Canadian cities, I figure. (My vote for Worst Canadian City is obviously Winnipeg, aka Winteerpeg, aka Move Somewhere Else Please. There are biting insects that draw blood, an incredibly cold and dry winter, a warm and humid summer, and nothing much to do except abuse methamphetamine, alcohol, or fentanyl. There's a Venetian Snares album that is appropriate titled Winnipeg Is A Frozen Shithole)

The problem most people find is the real estate cost: there used to be a game known as "Crack-shack or Million-dollar-mansion?". At the peak of the market, houses were being sold as tear downs for 1 million plus CAD, possibly more... if you have some appropriately located property it could easily go for more.
Even a fucking small apartment would work out to $500K plus. It's a little better now that we have restrictions on absentee landlords and foreign overseas ownership - a contributing factor was that the housing market was being treated not as a source of housing, but as a means to invest. It wasn't common to see someone from Mainland China purchase a multi-million-dollar property as an "investment vehicle", and leave it totally unopccupied and unmaintained (because why would you collect rent, when that opens the possibility that you might incur damage to the property (and therefore loss of return on your precious investment). Sometimes you would see $25 million dollar estates where the resident is listed as "student" or "housewife". Seems real unlikely to me that a typical university student would be able to amass that amount of cash, plus extra for property tax, utilities, etc. As I understand it, properties here were considered a convenient way to hide your (possibly less than licit) earnings in a jurisdiction that the grubby paws of Winnie the Pooh and the CCP can't reach.
 
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SunriseChampion

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Canada sounds like the most progressive country in the world these days.
Speaking of which, I'll bet my home (which I don't own, but don't tell the landlord) that a basic universal income becomes a real thing in Canada after this pandemic is dealt with. Place your bets now.

Vancouver has a tolerable, though admittedly still quite rainy climate. Best place to go as far as Canadian cities, I figure.
I love Vancouver. It's a beautiful place, but the climate is fucked. I am not dealing with 8 months of rain. What's the point? I'll take colder winters and more sun over that.

(My vote for Worst Canadian City is obviously Winnipeg, aka Winteerpeg, aka Move Somewhere Else Please. There are biting insects that draw blood, an incredibly cold and dry winter, a warm and humid summer, and nothing much to do except abuse methamphetamine, alcohol, or fentanyl. There's a Venetian Snares album that is appropriate titled Winnipeg Is A Frozen Shithole)
I guess V.S. would know, being from there and all. I like Winnipeg. Calgary's pretty lame, you ever been there? Also, trust me on this one.....Oshawa is the worst Canadian city.


The problem most people find is the real estate cost: there used to be a game known as "Crack-shack or Million-dollar-mansion?"
Van City has gotten ridiculous in this regard. It's not much better here. I work in construction so I'm pretty deeply involved in the whole real estate market by proxy and it's a sad joke. I can only afford the smallest of 5 1-bed layouts, on a lower floor, in my building, and I make a very decent wage.

I'm actually thinking of leaving Toronto....but for like Kingston or Halifax or St John's. Something middling...or maybe Montreal. Somewhere with sane housing costs.
 

Scrup

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Speaking of which, I'll bet my home (which I don't own, but don't tell the landlord) that a basic universal income becomes a real thing in Canada after this pandemic is dealt with. Place your bets now.



I love Vancouver. It's a beautiful place, but the climate is fucked. I am not dealing with 8 months of rain. What's the point? I'll take colder winters and more sun over that.



I guess V.S. would know, being from there and all. I like Winnipeg. Calgary's pretty lame, you ever been there? Also, trust me on this one.....Oshawa is the worst Canadian city.




Van City has gotten ridiculous in this regard. It's not much better here. I work in construction so I'm pretty deeply involved in the whole real estate market by proxy and it's a sad joke. I can only afford the smallest of 5 1-bed layouts, on a lower floor, in my building, and I make a very decent wage.

I'm actually thinking of leaving Toronto....but for like Kingston or Halifax or St John's. Something middling...or maybe Montreal. Somewhere with sane housing costs.
Raised in Oshawa can confirm.
 
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