Recent tragic news of popular artist, Demi Lovato’s drug overdose, has spiked conversations about opioid use and the opioid crisis that is taking the lives of millions.
Opioids are highly addictive drugs and medications. Any opioid fulfills opioid receptors in your body and in particular, your brain. They kill pain, help you zone out, they make you feel drowsy, and sometimes they make you feel good and that’s why they’re highly addictive. They hit hard and they hit fast which is the perfect formula for an addictive drug.
There is a huge opioid crisis in our country. In the province of Ontario last year, 3 people per day were dying of opioid use. Opioids can be deadly if you take too much because they block your respiratory drive. Meaning they block your ability to breathe in and out naturally. Essentially, you fall asleep and can suffocate.
As physicians, we need to be aware and do more to diminish the amount of prescribed opioids to patients. We need to make help a resource for drug addiction more readily accessible to those who need it. And we need to make sure that we are helping those people access those resources.
For a list of resources across Canada, please refer to the following:
Alberta (Addiction Helpline, Alberta Health Services)
British Columbia (Alcohol and Drug Information and Referral Service)
Manitoba (Addictions Foundation of Manitoba)
Adult services: 1-855-662-6605
Youth services: 1-877-710-3999
New Brunswick (Addiction Centres, Department of Health)
Newfoundland and Labrador (Addictions Services, Department of Health and Community Services)
Northwest Territories (Department of Health and Social Services)
Nova Scotia (Mental Health and Addictions Services, Nova Scotia Health Authority)
Nunavut (Kamatsiaqtut Help Line)
Prince Edward Island (Addiction Services, Health PEI)
Quebec (Drugs: help and referral)
Saskatchewan (HealthLine, Ministry of Health)
811 or 1-877-800-0002
Yukon (Mental Wellness and Substance Use Services, Health and Social Services)
1-866-456-3838 (for Yukon, Nunavut and NWT)