Got a pain? Take a pill. Increasingly, we have become a nation of avid consumers of strong narcotic pain relievers - drugs like oxycodone, fentanyl and morphine. A recent survey found Canadian pharmacies filled an astounding 17 million prescriptions for opioids last year! This country is one of the world's top per capita users of prescription narcotics. In Ontario alone, prescriptions for meds containing oxycodone have risen 900 per cent since 1991.
Are we really in that much pain?
Yes - chronic pain is a growing problem, particularly as our population ages. Back pain and headaches are two common reasons why people are prescribed with narcotics.
The problem is they're highly addictive when given to poorly selected patients
The other problem is they're popular on the street. Drug users chew, melt and inject long-acting OxyContin - to get an immediate and intense high. So intense, it can and does kill. Non-medical use of opioids is now the fourth-leading form of substance use in Canada, behind alcohol, tobacco and cannabis.
Later this month, White Coat will take its microphones on the road to discuss the issue. In advance of our town hall, we'd like to hear from you.
We want to hear from patients who was prescribed pills for pain, and now can't seem to stop taking them. We want to hear from family members of patients.
We want to hear from physicians who have prescribed opioid pain relievers and who have seen not just the benefits but the harms of doing so.
We also want to hear from pharmacists who in some cases are reluctant to dispense medications prescribed by doctors.
Call our vox box 1-866-648-6714. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us through Facebook or Twitter. We realize this is a sensitive issue, so if you do get in touch, please let us know your name and how to reach you -- but we won't use your name on the air unless you're comfortable. We'll share some of your comments and questions during the taping of our upcoming town hall.