6 months have now passed since my brother Joshua died and the Annapolis Valley Prescription Pill problem came to the public light. August 31st 2011 the Department of Health and Wellness released their Working Groups Recommendations. In theDepartment’s Media Release they stated :
- ” The department has already started work on several recommendations. Health and Wellness is working with the Nova Scotia Prescription Monitoring Program to provide prescribers and pharmacists with access to patient profiles 24 hours a day, seven days a week, instead of only during business hours. This increased access will help answer any questions prescribers may have when determining treatment and will help them make decisions, knowing the full prescription drug history of their patient whether it is during office hours or in the middle of the night. “
This is great and I believe it is necessary to implement this recommendation. The government fails to include that this program will not be fully implemented until 2014 . This is also a tool that will help pharmacists and doctors . Not the general public. This is not going to help the people who are already sick and addicted.
- “Connections have also been made with Doctors Nova Scotia and other interested groups to promote a national chronic pain management tool. This tool helps doctors better identify, treat and manage non-cancer chronic pain.”
This all sounds nice in theory . The problem I have with this is the “chronic pain management tool” they speak of is funded by Purdue Pharma. This company makes all the opiate narcotics that people are abusing and overdosing on in the area. This company has also been convicted and charged of falsely advertising the risk Oxy Contin to physicians . This is not something “new” the government has implemented . This chronic pain network was started when Purdue Pharma donated 130,000 to the IWK Chronic Pain Unit in March 2011. It is supposed to help doctors network , to share ideas and information on how to treat chronic pain. What if one of the doctors giving advice is an over prescriber?? Who is policing or monitoring this network?? Doesn’t seem like a very good use of funds if you ask me . Maybe it would be different if we didn’t have such a serious problem of prescriptions being diverted from Annapolis Valley Doctors .
- “Work continues on developing a public education campaign directed at youth and young adults around the dangers of mixing alcohol and prescription drugs. The campaign is set for September, and will provide additional information to families on how they can help their loved ones living with addiction.“
Ok this is a great tool also but where is it?? Almost October and have yet to see this campaign they speak of .
- Progress is also being made to increase access to methadone maintenance treatment, with several doctors working toward receiving their certification to prescribe methadone.
What progress do they speak of?? The Department said we would be getting more access to methadone maintenance care back in May 2011 so where is it?? There are no free spaces available so what do they consider progress??
The media release finishes up with :
- “This issue is too complex and important to make decisions in isolation,” said Ms. MacDonald. “I’ve asked the Advisory Group on the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy to take a look at these recommendations and provide input. I want to be sure we develop the best solutions for Nova Scotians.”
Is she really worried about the best solutions for Nova Scotians ? Sounds more like the best solutions to make it appear they are doing something . There have been NO changes on the ground in the Annapolis Valley other than awareness. We still have yet to hear what they plan on doing about all the diverted prescriptions making their way to the street from Annapolis Valley Doctors. Until we get to the source of the problem ( diverted prescriptions ) and get the people who need help now in treatment we will not see any changes until the addicts we have die or kill themselves. Making the doctors , police , and pharmacists jobs easier is great ! Although it would be nice if the government worried about making us common folk lives easier too. Guess we will keep playing the waiting game , while the government continues to get more blood on their hands.