Coastal Health Combats Overdoses In Vancouver


Could This Big Announcement Bring Down Deaths Due to Drug Overdose in Vancouver?

Coastal Health CombatsIn the past couple of weeks, the same class of drugs that was discussed in the State of the Union address and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sometime ago had killed more U.S. citizens than car accidents and even made hundreds of people addicted. Those drugs are called Opioids – drugs like codeine, hydromorphone (Dilaudid), hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet), and morphine (Kadian, Avinza).   

Hundreds of people who started taking opioid to control body pain are now struggling to sleep without it. Instead of consulting the doc to find a quick fix to their addiction, a lot of people are heading to physicians and medical centers to get more opioids. What was just a remedy to control pain is now giving people the most painful experience in their lives. They’re addicted and some of them quit their jobs and went in search of (illegal) higher pleasure drugs like heroine.

The situation in Vancouver, British Columbia is no better. Fatal overdose of painkillers and an increase in the number of drugs addicts has caused frustration among people over the government for not taking adequate measures to put an end to opioid crisis in the city.  

Finally, there seems to be an answer…

Dr. Evan Wood
Dr. Evan Wood

Vancouver Coastal Health recently announced a solution to control the growing number of problems concerned with painkiller drug addiction. Dr. Evan Wood, the medical representative at Vancouver Coastal Health, told The Early Edition that methadone, which has been the first choice prescription for narcotic (opiate) addiction, will no longer be prescribed. Instead, people will be recommended to take another drug called Suboxone.

The reason he said was, Suboxone is a partial opioid agonist and very effective against opioid addiction. Heroin and Methadone are addictive in their own ways, but this one is different. When consumed by the patient, Suboxone works directly on the opioid receptor in the brain and prevents opioid from stimulating other receptors thereby saving users from fatal overdose. Dr.Wood also stated that Suboxone can be taken at home so the patient need not even go to the pharmacy for everyday use.     

The new approach also aims at reviewing the existing detox services, said Dr.Wood in response to a question on inferior continuity care. He said people who go through detox are likely to experience lesser tolerance to opioids and that can in turn cause catastrophic outcomes related to fatal overdose. Hence, the new approach opposes ‘detox only’ recommendation against opioid addiction.

Dr.Wood also stated that the local health care system should focus more on monitoring people suffering from opioid addiction in order to help them get out of their problem. He also expressed his hopes on VCH launching a new system to treat opioid drug addiction by 2017.  

Families and AddictionThe recent announcements have come as a big relief to families whose members are struggling to overcome drug addiction. One person that is particularly happy about the state’s decision is Leslie McBain. She lost her son Jordan to drug addiction earlier this year.

Jordan was prescribed oxycodone for a back injury he was experiencing at workplace. Regular use of the drug resulted in addiction and finally took his life, said McBain. Even when the youngster was struggling to overcome addiction, the doctor couldn’t do much except giving detox and counseling him against using the same drug the doctor himself had prescribed. Three months after detox, Jordan died of drug overdose, his mother said.

McBain believes the new approach by Vancouver Coastal Health will help save the lives of hundreds of people and eventually save many parents from facing the sad situation that she is facing now. People in Vancouver have expressed happiness over the new guidelines and are hoping for betterment in the lives of people struggling to overcome opioid addiction.

Here’s a withdrawal ease infographic on opioid epidemic that highlights how pain killers took a toll in the lives of New Hampshire residents.

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