Saturday, 12 October 2013

There is something very wrong with this

The Medical Society of P.E.I. and the Association of Registered Nurses joint conference this week called,  Addictions Unplugged — dispelling myths, facing facts and moving forward in addictions training on P.E.I. –  is certainly a very positive step in the right direction.

Dealing with this opiate epidemic will require collaboration across many areas of expertise in the Province. Doctors and nurses play very important roles in the lives of addicts who often require medical care. In fact, they can make all the difference to someone battling addiction. If they are kind and compassionate, they give the individual a reason to live another day. If they are judgmental and unkind, they may cause a patient to lose hope and feel even more worthless. Both attitudes exist within our healthcare system.

By educating this group of medical professionals about the disease of addiction, this conference will help to build compassion and understanding toward individuals who are in the grips of addiction and who, quite frankly, can be very “unlovable” at the best of times. They are sick with a brain disease. Healthcare professionals must look past the negative behaviours associated with addiction to the person needing help to get well. This supportive environment will have a tremendous impact on individuals who will feel more comfortable seeking medical treatment for various issues, such as infections, before they become very serious.

Another positive outcome of the conference may be improved access to treatment. Dr. Don Ling, head of PEI’s Methadone program, says that he hopes more physicians in P.E.I. will be inspired to treat addicted patients.  I hope so too! Currently only 10 doctors in the province administer methadone, while more than 200 people are on the waiting list for the methadone program.

According to Dr. Ling, “Methadone treatment does work for the motivated and committed patient. It works very well, actually.”‘ 

Suboxone is also a very successful treatment option. It has been proven to work especially well for young people. Unfortunately, it is only available to Islanders under special circumstances.

We need to make both Methadone and Suboxone more accessible because they have been proven successful. If we want to get this addiction problem under control, we need to have as many treatment options available as possible in order to find what works best for each individual client.

I find it so ironic that prescription painkillers, which are wreaking havoc on our society, are so easily accessible (over 5 million pills prescribed on PEI last year), but the treatment that will help individuals to get better if they become addicted is very difficult to access (even though only minimal training is involved in order for doctors to be able to write the prescriptions).  

There is something very wrong with this.

I beg all Island doctors to consider getting trained in Methadone and Suboxone treatments so that you can play an even bigger role in addressing this problem on PEI, and in helping Islanders get better.  Of course, these treatment options are not for everyone but we have to make sure they are available for suitable candidates. People shouldn’t have to wait for years. They could die waiting when the wait time doesn’t have to exist. We need to do better.  We need to help them.


Source:  The Guardian

I NEED YOUR HELP! Please fill in the 6 question survey on the top right of this screen. Thank you! 


  1. I find it disturbing that Dr. Ling is hoping more doctors "will be inspired" to prescribe methadone. It should be an absolute requirement that any doctor who can prescribe opiates, also prescribe methadone. Many doctors on PEI, especially those that work in the emergency room, continue to over-prescribe opiates and then refuse to deal with the addictions that they have created. The time has come to stop treating doctors like they are something special or beyond reproach. They work for the tax payers of Canada who find 100% of their salaries. They work for us! No one should feel any longer like their doctor "knows everything"... I know alot more than my doctor does about methadone and suboxone... when I mentioned suboxone to her, she said she had never heard of it. PEI deserves much better treatment from our doctors who have turned their backs on addicts because they don't "want" to deal with them... their ability to prescribe opiates should be removed right away. Makes you wonder if our doctors really believe that addiction is a disease because if they do and won't treat addicts (even their own patients), they are pretty lousy doctors.

    1. I can only imagine how frustrating it must be for Dr. Ling to see the list growing and growing (and to see all that suffering), and to have very little help in dealing with it. As he said in the article, if 20 or 25 doctors became certified and took on a few patients, it would be a tremendous help. It would mean that about 100 more people would be getting the help that they need. It is a sad state of affairs but I am hoping the doctors who were at the conference will realize that they have to come on board and be part of the solution.


Thank you for your comment. Please be advised that comments are moderated.