Letters To Government

Gary Ramey MLA for Bridgewater replies to my letter..

My Original Letter :
Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2012 10:15 AM
Subject: RX Drug Abuse In Bridgewater , What Action Are You Taking MLA Ramey?

Dear Mr. Ramey ,

It has come to my attention that there has been a recent prescription drug related death in your community of Bridgewater Nova Scotia. Brandon Wentzell passed away on February 6th 2012 due to ingesting a combination of alcohol and prescription drugs. Brandon was only 19 years old.


His mother Cheryl Veinotte called me 5 weeks after his death frustrated with how her sons death is being investigated and wondering what measures are being put in place in her community to prevent other mothers from losing their children the same tragic way. I am sure Brandon is not the only life we have lost in Bridgewater due to prescription drug abuse. I am glad Cheryl is speaking out about her loss to help save other lives . What are you going to do Mr. Ramey to try and prevent others in the community of Bridgewater from experiencing this same tragedy?

Sincerely ,

Amy Graves
Get Prescription Drugs Off The Street

Cheryl Veinotte’s Contact # – 902-523-****


Gary Ramey’s Response :

—– Original Message —–

From: Gary Ramey

Sent: 04/10/12 09:30 AM

To: Amy Graves

Subject: Re: RX Drug Abuse In Bridgewater , What Action Are You Taking MLA Ramey?


Hi Amy :
We have taken a number of steps to try an address this important issue in our area.  Some of them include the following
We are working on the recommendations put forth by the Prescription Drug Overdose Working Group
I have met with the Chief of Police, the DHA, and the Addictions folks here on the South Shore
We have expanded the network of opiate replacement treatment programs.
We have introduced a youth public awareness campaign that talks about the dangers of mixing alcohol and other substances that you might have seen on TV
We have expanded the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program 24—-7
We are training more physicians to get the exemption to provide methadone
We have formed the Better Health Care Committee that consists of The Ministers of Health, Community Services, Education, and Justice, and their deputies as well as  their Ministerial  Assistants and folks from policy and planning to examine complex issues like this and break down the silos in government
I am working hard to get a Schools Plus school in the town
The Department of Health is working on a Mental Health and Addictions Strategy which will be released in the next few weeks
Hope this helps to answer your question Amy.
See you on the 28th
My Final Response :

—– Original Message —–

From: Amy Graves

Sent: 04/10/12 11:12 AM

To: Gary Ramey

Subject: Re: RX Drug Abuse In Bridgewater , What Action Are You Taking MLA Ramey?

Hello Mr Ramey ,

Almost all of the things you mentioned below were brought into effect after the Gould Report was released in the Annapolis Valley . Do you have any idea how hard it was for me and others here to get those answers? When you say those are some of the things you have been working on it doesn’t sit very well with me . The Minister of Health and your party have not wanted to deal with this issue from the very beginning.  Do you realize how hard me and my community had to fight to get the provincial government to act on this issue??? It was not something you originally were willing to do and were not even acknowledging that it was occurring.

Almost all of the things you mentioned below have occurred before the last 3 overdoses in Bridgewater. Obviously these measures you have taken were not quite enough to save these 3 young people. I know your friend Jim Morton still reverts back to alcohol is a bigger issue . I saw an article in the Herald this weekend where a Health Official said the same thing about Lunenburg County. I beg to differ ! Do you have teenagers and people in their 20’s dying every few months from drinking too much? What about smoking too much weed?? I don’t think so … Yes alcohol is a big issue but people usually have many years to make the decision not too drink before their liver shuts down or they die from alcohol poisoning. Once people start abusing medication they can die the very first time . If they do not OD in the beginning they turn into addicts within weeks to months and then they either die or turn to methadone treatment . Very few people who start abusing prescription drugs live to see an opiate free life. Methadone is an opiate narcotic just like oxycontin or dilaudid . Young people are also dying from abusing methadone. If these drugs are being monitored properly than how can so many drug dealers in the province remain in constant supply. If you talk to local police they are not being shipped in from foreign places . They are scripts being written by our local doctors.

Your parties commercials about mixing Rx drugs and alcohol sent the wrong message. How about don’t abuse them at all?? The government needs to maintain that this is not an over prescribing issue but a kids making stupid choices issue. These people who Od’d did not steal a couple pills from their grandmother and took them to a party. They were buying off drug dealers who maintained constant supplies with legal prescriptions. The prescription drug monitoring program only works if doctors use it !! PMP does not police doctors , they red flag patients behavior . It is a great information keeping tool but if doctors do not check it or simply do not care , PMP does not that the authority to discipline .

I didn’t know your Health Authority was training doctors or expanding methadone treatment ?  As far as I understood AVH has been accommodating your residents so they can receive the methadone treatment people in AVH have been getting.

I hope you have some better answers for people on the 28th and I hope you have contacted Chery Jones . She still had not heard from you the last time we spoke.

Amy Graves

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