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The opioid crisis is everyone’s problem

The opioid crisis is everyone’s problem

The headlines repeat themselves. Another opioid-related death. And another. This is not old news. This is happening today – right now, in our own backyards.

In 2017, there were nearly 4,000 opioid-related deaths in Canada. Statistics Canada said that 10 Canadians fatally overdosed each day between 2016 and 2018.

A recent article in the Globe and Mail revealed that, as a direct result of the opioid crisis, life expectancy in British Columbia has dropped for the first time in decades – and threatens to do the same across the country.

The role prescription opioids play cannot be ignored

While the rising availability of illicit Fentanyl is a major contributor to Canada’s opioid crisis, accessibility to prescribed opioids is also part of the problem.

Evidence suggests that many who have overdosed on opioids have at one time in their lives been prescribed an opioid painkiller. In fact, one in five patients prescribed an opioid to treat a medical condition or chronic pain become dependent on the drug in as little as ten days.

Canadians are the second highest users per capita of opioids in the world. The rates of opioid prescribing and opioid-related hospital visits and deaths have been increasing rapidly. In 2017, concerned with these unsettling truths, the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) published new national prescribing guidelines recommending a reduction in the daily prescribed dosing from 200 Morphine equivalents (MEQs) to less than 90 MEQs.

No one is immune to the devastating effects

The opioid crisis has reached epidemic proportions. And no socio-economic group is spared. This major social crisis affects us all – our families, neighbours, friends and co-workers.

A new TELUS Health Originals documentary, Painkiller: Inside the Opioid Crisis, underscores this reality. The documentary shares the human stories behind the distressing and far-reaching opioid epidemic, and features the painful accounts of families whose loved ones became addicted to opioids.

Stories like Jill and David Cory’s hit home. After countless hospitalizations and spending $30,000 for a treatment program in BC, the Corys moved their family to Alberta so their son Ben could enter a one-year treatment program in a private facility. Despite the gains Ben made while in treatment, the 23-year old died from an overdose.

It is our hope that through this important documentary, we can save precious lives by helping to raise awareness on what Fentanyl is and end the stigma of addiction.

Watch Painkiller: Inside the Opioid Crisis

Learn More:

Prescription fentanyl partly to blame for Canada’s opioid crisis/

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