Ontario Pharmacies Welcome NDP Commitment to Declare Opioid Public Health Emergency

Tuesday, April 17, 2018 Drug News
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TORONTO, April 17, 2018 /CNW/ - The Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada (Neighbourhood

Pharmacies) welcomes the Ontario NDP platform commitment to declare the province's escalating opioid crisis a public health emergency.

Recent data released by the Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario reported

that opioid-related deaths in the province have increased by 52 per cent from January to October 2017 compared to the same period from 2016. Further, emergency department visits related to opioid overdoses jumped 72 per cent between January to December 2017 to 7,658 from 4,453 in 2016.

"Every day, five Ontarians become dependent on opioids – a human toll we simply cannot afford," said Justin Bates, CEO of Neighbourhood Pharmacies. "If the current trend continues then over the next decade the number of Ontarians who are dependent on opioids will fill BMO Field in Toronto," Bates went on to say.

The Ontario NDP's commitment to expand the distribution of Naloxone and other anti-overdose medications is laudable, but will not stem this crisis on its own. A truly multifaceted response to this crisis is required. It involves a focus on both the treatment and prevention of addiction.

The entire health care system must work in concert to fight the scourge of dependency and overdose.  Pharmacy professionals can use their unique tools and position in the health care system to help prevent dependency before it starts – saving lives and saving the system precious dollars. Our members can ensure Ontarians are using medications safely and responsibly, preventing tragedy before it occurs.

Therefore, Neighbourhood Pharmacies, along with the Ontario Pharmacists Association, has proposed a pharmacy-delivered pain management program for Ontarians who are prescribed opioids. The aim of this program is to focus on preventing opioid addiction in the first place. The program will provide patients with one-on-one support to appropriately assess and manage their pain, while mitigating the potential risk of opioid dependence. This will make a real difference in the lives of patients and save lives now.

While this type of pharmacy-administered pain management program would be the first of its kind in Canada, there is evidence that this program has had success in other jurisdictions like Australia. To ensure its success the implementation would be phased-in – quickly, yet thoughtfully – with ongoing quality improvement metrics and adjustments.

About Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada:

The Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada represents the business of pharmacy and advocates for Canada's leading pharmacy brands who deliver high value, quality care to Canadians in all models including chain, banner, long-term care, specialty and independent pharmacies as well as grocery chains and mass merchandisers with pharmacies.  Our focus is on improving the delivery of care environment for pharmacy, while fostering the right business conditions for business success. By leveraging the over 10,000 points of care with pharmacies conveniently located in every neighbourhood across Canada, we aim to advance sustainable healthcare for all stakeholders.

SOURCE Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada

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