Fixing fentanyl means treating trauma that creates addicts

February 5, 2018


Retired physician shares his views in our series, The Fentanyl Fix, solutions for B.C.’s opioid crisis
By Gabor Maté, for CBC News Posted: Feb 03, 2017 4:53 PM PT Last Updated: Feb 03, 2017 4:53 PM PT
Dr. Gabor Mate is a retired palliative care doctor

Dr. Gabor Maté is a retired palliative care doctor. (Gabor Mate)


The drugs these users choose are often opiates, the most powerful painkillers we know.

In my years as a palliative care physician, I daily had reason to be grateful for the easing of suffering the opiate medications afforded my patients afflicted with cancer and other pain-inducing conditions.

But opiates also soothe emotional pain; in fact, the suffering of psychic pain is experienced in the same part of the brain as that of physical pain.
Hence, the first question when dealing with opiate-dependent human beings should be not “why the addiction” but “why the pain?”

Dr. Gabor Maté, who worked as a physician on the Downtown Eastside for 12 years, says we need to recognize addiction, not as a failure of will but as a complex response to suffering.
Dr. Gabor Maté 2

What engenders such unbearable pain in human beings that they would knowingly risk their very lives to escape it?

The answer is trauma: deep, unresolved trauma that imposes a lifetime of suffering, fear of reality, isolation, hopelessness and an urgency to alter one’s experience. This is where addiction comes in.

“The meaning of all addictions could be defined as endeavours at controlling our life experiences with the help of external remedies,” wrote the psychiatrist Thomas Hora.

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New Provincial Healthcare Advocacy Network

February 5, 2018

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SOHC is one of the founding members of a newly established Provincial Network called the BC Rural Health Network.

The BCRHN consists of healthcare advocacy organizations from rural towns, working to improve healthcare service delivery in rural BC.

Our goals include the following:

  • share successful strategies in an effort to address rural healthcare concerns
  • advocate for policy changes that provide all rural residents with attachment to a health care practitioner
  • identify areas of research aimed at improving access to healthcare in rural communities and to provide fertile ground for research to take place
  • inform the BC Ministry of Health of rural healthcare concerns and recommend solutions for the improvement of services to rural BC residents
  • develop partnerships with other provincial organizations in an effort to influence policy changes that improve access to healthcare services
  • recognize the healthcare concerns of indigenous communities and include their issues and concerns as part of our work
  • improve access to mental health services
  • promote patient-centred, community-based primary healthcare reform

Membership includes organizations from the communities of Ashcroft, Hornby & Denman Islands, Nelson, Sicamous, Slocan Valley, South Shuswap, Trail, and Princeton. Membership is open to any organization that supports the purpose and goals of the BCRHN.




Primary Care Reform

February 5, 2018


To read the full report, please visit

‘Toward a Primary Care Strategy for Canada’

From the summary:


Aims and vision, however clear and compelling, are not sufficient by themselves to bring about system transformation. A thoughtful approach to the change process is also crucial. As primary care transformation proceeds at the provincial, regional and local levels – with appropriate federal support – what principles should guide the change process? We suggest the following:

◥ Strict adherence to the principles of universality and access to care based on need.

◥ An unwavering focus on public benefit, as opposed to professional or private interest

◥ Meaningful engagement of patients and citizens in system design (person-centred system design).

◥ Application of an equity lens to health services planning and measurement.

◥ Attention to the health and healthcare needs of communities and populations as well as individuals — in particular socially disadvantaged and high-needs communities and populations.

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SOHC AGM – January 24, 2018

January 26, 2018


The Support Our Health Care (SOHC) Society of Princeton held its Annual General Meeting at Riverside Community Centre on January 24, 2018. The following people were elected to the SOHC Board for the coming year:

President – Edward Staples
Vice President – Bill Day
Secretary – Nienke Klaver
Treasurer – Keith Olsen
Directors: Lynn Wells, Frank Turner, Cindy Regier, Andrea DeMeer

The Financial Report, Year in Review, and Goals and Activities for 2018 were presented and accepted by the membership. Click on the follow links to read the full reports:

2018 AGM Financial Report

SOHC Year in Review 2017 – Summary

pdf SOHC Goals and Activities for 2018


Newsletter # 7 – December 2017

January 2, 2018

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Support Our Health Care has had a very active year. To read the latest SOHC Newsletter, click on the following:

pdf SOHC December 2017 Newsletter

Better stay healthy because doctor supply in B.C. is about to get a whole lot worse

December 18, 2017

Patients having trouble finding doctors haven’t seen anything yet, suggests a study by B.C. researchers


Published on: December 10, 2017 | Last Updated: December 11, 2017 4:32 PM PST


Patients having trouble finding doctors — or waiting too long to see specialists and get treatment — haven’t seen anything yet, suggests a study by B.C. researchers that was published Monday.

That’s because about 40 per cent of B.C. doctors are at — or near — the average age that doctors retire, 65.1. And to exacerbate things, the study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal shows that 40 per cent of doctors reduce their workload at least 10 per cent in the three years before they retire.

The problem is particularly acute for patients preferring female doctors or living in rural areas. Female physicians tend to retire four years before male doctors, and on average, rural doctors retire just over two years earlier.

It is hypothesized that rural doctors may retire earlier because of burnout or because of lower cost of living but regardless, “early retirement in these communities is of particular concern, given that many rural areas are known to have substantial difficulties recruiting and retaining physicians,” says the team of authors from the University of B.C., Simon Fraser University and the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute.

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News Release – Princeton Health Care Steering Committee

December 11, 2017


November 24, 2017
submitted by Edward Staples

Report on the November meeting of the Princeton Health Care Steering Committee
On Tuesday, November 21, the Princeton Health Care Steering Committee (PHCSC) held its monthly meeting at Princeton General Hospital. The PHCSC was formed in 2013 to provide a mechanism for Interior Health, the Town of Princeton, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, Cascade Clinic, Princeton General Hospital, and community organizations to work together to support stable, sustainable and accessible health care in Princeton.

This month’s meeting was attended by representatives from the Town of Princeton, Area H (RDOS), Cascade Medical practitioners, Princeton General Hospital staff, Interior Health, BC Ambulance Services, Princeton and District Community Services, Princeton Family Services, RCMP, and Support Our Health Care (SOHC). The meeting was chaired by Interior Health administrator, Susan Brown.

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To become a member of SOHC, please
email the secretary.
Annual membership is $2.

SOHC Discussion Paper

Developing an Improved and Sustainable Health Care Model for Princeton, B.C
Support Our Health Care has released a discussion paper in order to get feedback from the community, politicians and professionals about the state of local healthcare and what the long term solutions should be.
Download PDF Here