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Archive for March, 2012


Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

On a daily basis I am asked questions about Addiction. With so much information out there, it can still be very confusing for one to find an answer that fits their specific question.  Sometimes these questions come from family members, concerned friends, employers, fellow employees, Physicians’, counsellors, clergy, School Principals, Associations, Police Officers, Lawyers, and just about every walk of life.

The reality is Addiction affects everyone. There isn’t anyone who doesn’t know someone who is addicted. It might be your neighbour, school friend, secretary, boss, son, daughter, husband, father, mother, brother or sister. They may or may not be asking for help.

The confusion lies in what to do.

With so much contradictory information out there, who do you trust.

I don’t have all the answers, but I am a good listener and a good researcher….. I speak to those in recovery, those actively who are actively using, those that are trying to help them with medical or non-medical support, and those that are enabling them and preventing them from reaching for help.

Some believe that they just have to want it bad enough to get the help they need and others believe that their “sick” minds will preventing them from accepting the help, even when it is right in front of them.

So I have been asked to address some of these questions and hopefully provide you with my twist on what I might see as a solution to your dilemma, or offer some feedback that encourages you to make some changes, or lastly to have you maybe look at an alternative way of dealing with the situation that you keep finding yourself in.

I guess I can be Good Cop and Bad Cop….I want you to pretend for a minute that I am in your kitchen and we are having a cup of tea and just chatting about life.  As a friend, I will listen to your question and give you my honest answer. You can take it or you can leave it. No harm, No Foul.

I thought I would share a couple of standard questions that are presented to me on a daily basis, just so we can get the ball rolling and you can digest my answers and see if I am the type of friend that you feel comfortable being honest with……. and if so, then forward your question to my column “A CUP of T”



I suspect my son is using drugs. He is 21 years old and lives at home with us. He has been hanging out with some new friends and is very angry all the time with us. He yells and screams that we aren’t giving him space and we are causing him to be angry. He is not working and sleeps all day and goes out all night. I wait up for him as I am worried and cannot sleep until he gets home. When he is home, he stays in his bedroom. What should we do?


Ok he is 21years old and ruling your home with his schedule. He has a right to his own friends, his own schedule. BUT you have right too. I would suggest you sit down with him and tell him what your house rules are. No-one lives anywhere for free. Friends would not put up with this for sure. He needs to work or be in school. If he is not working then he needs to be focused on obtaining a job… any job and in the interim…he needs to volunteer. He needs purpose! He also needs to share in the household responsibilities. Lastly, I would also suggest purchasing a few drug kits. (in case one gets spoiled) and asking him to do a urine test as you suspect he is using drugs. Outline to him that “your” home is drug free. If he refuses to do drug test…. then he must leave. If he tests positive, then you need to figure out how he is going to get some help.


My husband just got charged with a DUI and is in jail, what should I do to help him.


You cannot fix the problem. Only he can. You can be there to support him if he chooses to get some help with his drinking… but that is all. Do not baby him or believe that he has learned his lesson and will never drink again. He needs help with his addiction and must be open to seeking help. Provide him with options for treatment and then see what he does. He needs to want this more than you do.

Understandably when I speak to people of the phone, it is not as black and white as these answers, but I think you get the gist of my message.  So, please forward any questions or concerns that you might have to me and I will do my best to provide you with a honest and open answer. I invite you into my home for a Cup of T

written by Tammy Francoeur


Time Bomb - The Fifth Estate

Sunday, March 11th, 2012
The Fifth Estate
It was touted as a miracle pill: a narcotic pain reliever that could change the lives of people suffering from chronic pain, but with little — so its maker claimed, and thousands of doctors believed — risk of addiction.
Since OxyContin was introduced in 1996, Canada has recorded the second-highest number of prescription opioid painkiller addictions — and the world’s second-highest death rate from overdoses.
“It’s helping your pain, but then you get immune to it, so then you go to the family doctor and he says ‘Well, you’re gonna need more,’” a woman who became addicted to OxyContin tells the fifth estate’s Linden MacIntyre. “So he puts you on the 40 milligram (dose) and you’re on that for a month, and then you get used to that dose and he puts you on the 80s.”
But how did a little pill that only appeared in 1996 become so big, so fast? In 1998, Canadian sales were just a few million dollars. Twelve years later they had soared to $243 million. In the U.S., sales were $3.5 billion in 2010. Though there were differences in corporate style and legal structure between Purdue in the U.S and in Canada, a similar marketing approach proved wildly successful. the fifth estate examines why medical schools, GPs and specialists in pain clinics readily embraced the drug at first, and why some have now changed their minds.
OxyContin has recently been dropped from provincial health plans in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Atlantic Canada. The manufacturer has now stopped making it altogether, replacing it with a new formulation known as OxyNeo. But is it too little, too late? Did the drug’s maker low-ball the risks? Did they know their time-release miracle pill was really a time bomb of addiction, waiting to go off?

To view this episode of The Fifth Estate click the url below


The Oxycontin Time Bomb

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

By Don Lehn

Friday, March 02, 2012 11:00 AM


Chilliwack, B.C. - BC’s Health Ministry will no longer cover Oxycontin and has placed restrictions on the sister drug Oxyneo. The opiate suppresses legitimate pain, when used properly. Addiction specialist Dr. Caroline Ferris who also works at the Creekside Withdrawal Management Centre in Surrey as well as working for Fraser Health, says be prepared for a panic in the streets from addicts. Some addicts have been getting the drug through prescriptions, but most get it illegally.

“If you were an opiate addict, say in Ontario, the odds are that you are addicted to just Oxycontin. If you are an opiate addict out here, you are either/or addicted to Heroin or Oxycontin.(Heroin is more prevalent on the coast as opposed to other parts of the country.)

Ferris says in the Fraser Valley, this rings true, especially among First Nations people. For all addicts, if they can’t get those pills, they could switch to heroin. Oxycontin sells for $50-$60 per 80 milligram tablet on the street. It is traded just like a regular currency.

The replacement, Oxyneo is harder to break down for use on the street, but packs the same punch. Oxyneo does not break down easily into a powder to be snorted or injected. Oxyneo has become a replacement because the pills are harder to crush and when mixed with water or any other liquid, they turn to jell and
impossible to inject.

The complete document on the drug restriction is as follows:

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia is forwarding two important drug updates to you on behalf of the Ministry of Health:

1. National shortage of drugs produced by Sandoz Canada
The Ministry of Health is aware of the national shortage of a number of drugs produced by Sandoz Canada and is actively working to minimize the impact to patients. This supply situation is due to operational issues at the Sandoz manufacturing site in Boucherville, Québec as well as other related logistical issues.

The Ministry is working with Sandoz, Health Canada, other provinces and the health authorities including Health Shared Service BC to manage the situation. Current stock levels of all Sandoz products are being reviewed and monitored across the province on a daily basis. For some unavailable products, clinical alternatives have been identified. However, for products where there are few or no alternatives, judicious allocation of stock will be necessary. Alternate suppliers are also being explored.

The affected drugs are mostly injectable products used in hospitals, as well as a few topical eye products. While the impact of the potential shortage will be greatest on patients in the hospital, the Ministry recognizes that some patients in the community may also be affected. Physicians in the community should note that there is restricted availability of injectable morphine and injectable hydromorphone. The Sandoz situation does not affect the company’s solid oral product line, nor does it affect patches or somatropin (Omnitrope™).

As per usual PharmaCare process when drug shortages occur in the community, appropriate products can be made temporarily eligible for PharmaCare coverage. The Ministry will continue to work with physicians to ensure that the best alternatives are made available for patients who are impacted.

Health care professionals should reassure patients not to panic. There is also no need for physicians or patients to stockpile Sandoz products. The Ministry encourages all health professionals to work with others across the spectrum of acute and community care, to ensure that we take the best care of our patients during this situation.

Future updates will be provided as necessary.

2. Changes to BC PharmaCare’s Coverage for Controlled-release Oxycodone (Oxycontin )
Effective March 8, 2012, PharmaCare is discontinuing coverage for controlled-release oxycodone (Oxycontin ) used to treat moderate to severe pain, and will consider only exceptional case-by-case coverage of the new product, OxyNEO . This follows the manufacturer’s decision to discontinue production of Oxycontin and market the new product, OxyNeo .

For patients with current annual Special Authority approval for OxyContin , PharmaCare will continue to cover Oxycontin and OxyNEO until their Special Authority approval ends. After reassessment, and if still appropriate, physicians may request exceptional coverage by providing supporting rationale in a letter to Special Authority.
Patients with indefinite Special Authority approval will be granted transitional coverage until February 28, 2013 for Oxycontin and OxyNEO to allow time for physicians to reassess the appropriateness of the patient’s pain management.
Palliative care patients will continue to receive coverage for Oxycontin and OxyNEO through PharmaCare Plan P.

PharmaCare encourages physicians to work with their patients to reassess the appropriateness of pain management. For patients continuing on controlled-release oxycodone with OxyNEO , a new prescription will have to meet the requirements for controlled drug products. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC’s Duplicate Prescription Program and Prescription Review Program ensure that drugs like OxyContin are securely and appropriately prescribed.


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