OTTAWA, March 13, 2017 /CNW/ - During Pharmacist Awareness Month, I am highlighting the important contribution ofpharmacists to addressing the opioid public health crisis.
Opioid overdoses are claiming the lives of thousands of Canadians of all ages, and from all walks of life. The impact of the opioid crisis continues to be devastating to individuals,
There has been a significant increase in the number of opioid overdoses and an acute rise in deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids in several provinces in Canada. Both illegally manufactured and prescribed opioids are being sold on the street. Some people have become addicted as a result of over-prescription and have turned to street drugs to manage their addiction. Drug addiction is an illness that requires care and compassion like any other health condition. Unfortunately, drug addiction often carries stigma, which in itself can be a serious barrier to care.
Pharmacists are often the first healthcare providers to notice a prescription drug problem in a patient, or over-prescribing by physicians. Pharmacists are a knowledgeable and accessible resource — they provide information about proper use of prescription opioids, and offer services such as taking back old or unused medications and disposing of them safely. Their work helps to prevent opioid misuse, overdoses and deaths from overdose.
I encourage all Canadians to learn about the health risks associated with the use of opioids, the signs and symptoms of a possible overdose, and how to help themselves and those around them who may be using these drugs. Knowing more means you can help prevent opioid misuse and addiction, and potentially save a life.
Use medication properly
Keep prescription medication out of the wrong hands
Learn how to administer naloxone
Learn about drug use
Recognize the symptoms of an overdose
Know what to do if you witness someone experiencing an overdose
For more information, visit Canada.ca/opioids.
SOURCE Public Health Agency of Canada
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