College of Physicians and Surgeons speaks out on opioid crisis

By CHAT News Today
January 11, 2018 - 5:32pm

EDMONTON — The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta has spoken out about the ongoing overuse of opioids in the province.

In an editorial posted to its website on Thursday, the college acknowledges the problem of over-prescribing opioid painkillers in leading to the current crisis.

“Over-prescribing of opioid painkillers contributed to the crisis starting in the late 1990s, in part because physicians were told to treat pain more aggressively, and that opioids were a safe way to do it,” the editorial, attributed to Dr. Scott McLeod with the organization, reads. “The medical profession didn’t set out to do harm but we helped create the crisis, and now we need to do everything we can to help solve it.”

According to the most recent data available, 482 Albertans have died from opioid overdoses from January to September 2017. Canada has the second-highest prescription opioid use per capita in the world, and Alberta has the highest per capita consumption among Canadian provinces.

McLeod says the organization is making efforts to help mitigate the crisis, including prescribing opioids less. According to the college, From September 2016 to September 2017 (the most recent data available), a seven per cent drop in painkiller prescriptions was reported.

He writes that doctors must also greatly expand access to opioid treatment.

The full editorial can be read here.


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