The Coroner’s Service has taken a deeper dive into the opioid crisis data.
Chief coroner, Lisa Lapointe says what they found is that of the men, who are dying from an overdose, 45 per cent of them between the ages of 30 and 59, died at home, alone, and had sought medical relief for pain related issues.
Lapointe says pain relief was not specifically defined, it could have been for physical or emotional pain.
Either way, she says people were reaching out for help.
“What it says to me is that if they can’t get that help through prescribed means and, we know, for a while there, there was a real curtailing of physicians prescribing opioids, they go to an illicit market.”
Lapointe says we are forcing people, who are struggling with a health issue to go to a market that is contaminated and it makes no sense.
Dr. Evan Wood, executive director, for the BC Centre on Substance Use says we have inadequately trained health care providers who are creating more cases of addiction.
Wood says many people’s first introduction to opioid medication is from a physician and it’s dangerous in that context.
“We have this terrible situation where physicians can be prescribing oxycodone and these other medications and then when someone turns around with behavior that, this person is snorting the pills or consuming the prescribed amount way before would be recommended, there’s sort of this deer-in-the-headlights fear, total unknowing what to do. So, we really need to start training all health care practitioners in addiction care.”
He says in the four years of physician training only about one hour is devoted to that kind of training.
The Coroner’s Service released their latest data on overdose deaths and it shows there were 1,489 suspected illicit drug overdose deaths in 2018, just over the total of overdose deaths seen in 2017.