‘Breaking Bad is the Reality’: Canada’s Opioid Crisis is Worsening, Conference Hears

Article by Joanne E. Laucius, Ottawa Sun

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Canada’s opioid crisis is worsening and health professionals and policymakers are scrambling for a solution, a packed audience at an opioid conference in Ottawa heard Friday morning.

The invitation-only conference, chaired by Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott and her Ontario counterpart Eric Hoskins, was organized to address the increasing number of overdoses and deaths due to the use of opioids.

The conference heard that multiple doses of naloxone, the antidote administered to overdose patients, are now required when only a short time ago, just one dose was sufficient.

“Breaking Bad is the reality,” paramedic Pierre Poirier told the audience during the first panel discussion of the day. “We’re not just talking about fentanyl. We’re talking about what chemists are doing. We can’t be callous about what’s happening.”

Keynote speaker Dr. David Juurlink, chief of clinical pharmacology and toxicology at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, said opioids are not nearly as effective for pain control as some doctors and patients believe. “We have done so much harm.”

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