Over-Prescription a Problem in Canada? Looking at Opioid Addiction and Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is medically described as a pain that lasts longer than six months, and it also happens to be a relatively common issue among the population. Regardless of how the pain is making itself known, it’s a fact that well over 100 million Americans are suffering from this problem – one in five Canadians could also find themselves dealing with this issue as well. The implications and problems that come along with chronic pain run through a very broad spectrum; the human body offers up a lot of components to have potential problems with. As a result, opioid addiction has become something that we need to look out for in modern medication; people could be taking too many pills and not even feel like it.

Over the past few years, Canada has been looked at as a drug haven of sorts. It’s the world’s 2nd largest consumer of opioids per capita, which isn’t a record you really want to boast about. OxyContin used to be the top-selling narcotic in Canada, as well as the re-brand and reformulated version known as “OxyNEO”. Although that was the case before, there has since been a surge in the fight against opioid addiction in Canada. Every single province in the country, except for Alberta, has pulled the plug on their OxyContin campaigns; hoping that it would help cut down the opioid addiction numbers. It’s a great thing to do, but these provinces have still forgotten about many of the other drugs available on the market that are similar (in both ingredients and effect). They tried something, and an abundance of other drugs just came in and filled the hole.

Fentanyl is a very similar drug, and is about 100 times more toxic than both heroin and morphine. It’s one of the most recognizable (and popular) drugs on the market today, and was linked to well over 650 Canadian deaths in between 2009 and 2014. In 2015 alone, it was responsible for 274 deaths in Alberta, which is a pretty shocking number, to say the least. Reports have stated that over-prescribing is a big issue here, and that alternative medicine should be sought out for pain management patients.

When all is said and done, opioids and only help you with the physical aspect of chronic pain – there’s still the psychological, financial and even social angles of the disorder to handle, and that’s left up to the patient (and the patient alone).

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