On October 3 2014 Carly Weeks of The Globe and Mail brought to light the dangerous and life threatening trend of Canadian doctors over prescribing high-dose opioids. It sounds like some of these doctors are carelessly sticking to this dangerous norm despite the real risks faced by the patients who rely on them for professional advice. While drugs like Percocet and OxyContin do have their benefits and their place, they also pose a serious and proven threat to the individuals who consume them.
All too often we hear of individuals, young and old, developing addictions to painkillers they didn’t even need in the first place. As the article mentions these are cases which often could have been solved with a simple over-the-counter drug. Not only is there the risk of developing addictions, the adverse effects of these medications are shown to have caused fatal incidents of accidental overdose and impaired driving. It is high time we, as a progressive society, take action to find alternatives to these potentially harmful medicines. At the very least we could make sure these drugs are only prescribed for symptoms of extreme pain which directly require them.
It would appear the roots of some of these issues lie in the general lack of education regarding cannabis derived medications as effective alternatives for treating chronic pain. Although arguably more research needs to be done on this topic, turning a blind eye to potentially life-saving methods of treatment is irresponsible. Imagine if Canadians would ignore the stigma surrounding marijuana and instead focused on funding proper research what we could achieve.
For additional reading on the topic of over prescribing high-dose opioids The College of Family Physicians of Canada released a study in September 2014 which outlines various opioid related trends which directly affect Canadians (see link below).
For the original Globe and Mail article see:
Photo credit: Torley