Why COVID-19 could make the overdose epidemic worse

Social isolation can be deadly for people struggling with addictions, says University of Alberta expert

Why COVID-19 could make the overdose epidemic worseWhen Alberta’s chief medical officer, Deena Hinshaw, announced special exemptions to COVID-19 regulations for group therapy in residential addiction treatment centres, it was exactly what University of Alberta addictions expert Cameron Wild was hoping to hear. “The whole concept of recovery is in part founded on developing strong social supportive relationships,” said Wild. Wild is principal investigator with the…

Not all hallucinations or delusions are caused by mental illness

Psychotic episodes can occur for a variety of reasons, not all of them having to do with mental illness

Not all hallucinations or delusions are caused by mental illnessHallucinations and delusions are the first things many people imagine when they hear about mental illness. They think of people who hear voices, see imaginary people or think they are someone they’re not. While hallucinations and delusions are not the hallmark of every mental illness, they can occur as a symptom of several disorders. Schizophrenia…

The sad reality of teen mothers who give birth in care

A much greater emphasis needs to be put on dual placements – whenever possible, mothers and children should be placed together

The sad reality of teen mothers who give birth in careGirls who spend time in the care of child protection services have higher rates of teenage pregnancy and teenage mothers are more likely to have their child taken into care. Teenage mothers who give birth when they’re in care are also more likely to have their children taken into care. Until recently, we didn’t know…

More isn’t always better when it comes to prescription medications

By thinking twice before prescribing and talking with patients about the risks of medications, clinicians are tackling overuse

More isn’t always better when it comes to prescription medicationsBy Karen Born and Wendy Levinson University of Toronto Canadians are living longer than ever and we are also taking more medications than ever. And this can make us sicker, not healthier. A report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information found that one in four seniors in Canada take 10 or more medications. That’s…

The war on drugs must be fought at addiction’s social roots

The answer to addiction will not be found in the industries of incarceration and prescription

The war on drugs must be fought at addiction’s social rootsOn Oct. 21, pharmaceutical opioid distributors McKesson Corp., AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health, and drug manufacturer Teva Pharmaceuticals agreed to a US$260-million settlement just hours before opening arguments were scheduled to begin in the first opioid-era federal lawsuit in Ohio. This is the first of hundreds of similar lawsuits filed by cities, counties, Native American tribes…

Constraining pain medication will only worsen drug problem

Limiting access to alcohol led to chaos during the Prohibition. Will constraining opioids do the same?

Constraining pain medication will only worsen drug problemThere are so many reasons to be very glad that we live in Canada – one of the main is that we’re governed by the rule of law. Laws and the rules and regulations that underpin them are enacted by democratically-elected governments. They’re enforced and upheld by police and courts that are amazingly upright and…

Opioids are killing Canadians in the thousands

Abstinence-based treatment is ineffective. We need to invest heavily in harm reduction strategies

Opioids are killing Canadians in the thousandsBy Sen. Jane Cordy and Sen. Raymonde Gagné “I wasn’t born to be a drug addict,” said a brave member of the audience at our recent open caucus meeting in the Senate on the Opioid Crisis in Canada. He told us of his struggle with drug addiction over two decades. His closing words hung in…

Cannabis legalization missteps leave little faith for solving opioid crisis

The delays, mistakes and outright incompetence related to cannabis legalization suggest we won't be able to manage opioid use

Cannabis legalization missteps leave little faith for solving opioid crisisEver since the oft-delayed rollout of legal recreational cannabis sales in Canada on Oct. 17, there have been problems across this vast and highly regulated land. All of these problems mean the illegal cannabis market remains intact. They also suggest we won't be particularly adept at handling legitimate drug crisis in this country. The cannabis-related…

Not all cannabis candies are created equal

Health Canada offers a framework for the sale of edible cannabis products before the October 2019 launch. Will we be ready?

Not all cannabis candies are created equalYou think October 2018 was complicated, wait until edible cannabis products are legalized by October 2019. It’s just a matter of time before the edible market represents the majority of the cannabis market in Canada. A study released last year suggested that 93 per cent of consumers supporting Ottawa’s legalization plans would try a cannabis-infused food…

Hearing the stories of survivors of abuse with compassion

If we can be ‘enlightened witnesses’ and listen without judgment, we can help the healing process

Hearing the stories of survivors of abuse with compassionMuch of the study of genocide has focused on how it happens and what it looks like. This is important but perhaps we need to go further. What do people go through after these crimes have been committed? What happens to children? There are many amazing books written by survivors of genocide: Viktor Frankl’s Man’s…