Summary on the Health Sciences Association Conference – April 2018

Ed Staples

Summary on the Health Sciences Association Conference – April 2018

Edward Staples
President of SOHC (Support Our Health Care) and
BC Rural Health Network Lead.

Vancouver Hyatt Regency April 13, 2018

Achieving High-Performing Primary and Community Care: the Critical Role of Health Science Professions

The conference opened with a welcome from Val Avery, Health Sciences Association (HSA) President and a First Nations Welcome from Coast Salish Elder Roberta Price.

The keynote speaker was the Honourable Judy Darcy, BC Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. She gave a brief overview of her first 9 months in office and made the following points:

Judy Darcy

• collaboration and team building on the “front lines” is critically important to address the opioid crisis

• addressing the crisis will require “all hands on deck”

• the focus of the Ministry is on child and youth prevention, First Nations, and the high rate of death associated with substance use

▪ most people who die from opioid overdose die alone

▪ 3 out of 4 are male between the age of 30 and 59

▪ 1 in 10 are indigenous

• problems with the current system:

• “no coordination of services”

• gaps in the service – fragmentation  lack of a team approach

• the goal is to develop an “ask once” system that will take you where you need to go

• addressing the problem by building a better system; funding for:

• training

• naloxone dispersal

• establishing overdose prevention sites

• establishing designated teams in each Health Authority

• recognizing that parents are often the “first responders”

• province wide coverage by “robust, interdisciplinary teams”

• addressing the social determinants of health

• making connections

Minister Darcy closed her remarks by recognizing the valuable work being done by the HSA and asked for advice and direction from HSA members on how to “close the gaps”. Continue reading

How these Canadians got hooked on opioids

This is the first story in a four-part series about the pharmaceutical industry and the hold it has on Canada’s health-care system — swaying doctors’ opinions, funding medical schools and, ultimately, affecting the type of drugs we are prescribed.

Steve Angst’s 11-year opioid addiction started with a workplace injury.

Angst was working at a Cami Automotive assembly plant in Ontario when he injured his right shoulder in 1991. The 56-year-old, then 28, needed reconstructive surgery.

After working on his shoulder, doctors prescribed Demerol to help with the pain. A few years later, in 1993, Angst needed more surgery to repair damage resulting from a fall. Then in 1996, he needed another operation on his left shoulder.

He went to his doctor for the pain — working at the plant required repetitive motion — and was prescribed Percocet. From there, his troubles with opioids got out of control.

“I got to the point where I couldn’t do anything unless I took a Percocet,” he said.

“And then, of course, the Percocet didn’t work anymore, so I go to the doctor and they just prescribe more Percocet.”