Local task force fights OxyContin abuse
The OxyContin and Other Prescription Opiates task force is working hard to reduce the abuse of OxyContin and prescription opiates in Cornwall, Akwesasne and the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry and Prescott-Russell.
Often used as a pain reliever, OxyContin produces an opiate-like effect ( similar to heroin), which makes it highly addictive. To help combat this problem, the multi agency task force is working to make recommendations to schools, agencies and other stakeholders to reduce the risk to our population as a whole.
According to Cornwall’s Withdrawal Management Services, 20% of admissions in 2009 were related to prescription opioids.
“ Because OxyContin is a prescribed drug, people seem to think that it’s safer than illegal drugs. But what people don’t realize is that Oxy can be highly addictive and dangerous. We’re now seeing high numbers of teens, adults and older adults coming in for Oxy withdrawal. Unfortunately, many of the people who come in for detox are put on a waiting list for treatment. We need to lobby for more services in our area,” explains Marc Giguère, Supervisor Withdrawal Management Services at Cornwall Community Hospital.
The Cornwall Community Police Service has also seen a rise in the use of OxyContin and other prescription opiates. “ Many communities across the province are facing a similar rise in the instance of OxyContin abuse. In Cornwall we are taking a pro-active approach by working closely with the Eastern Ontario Health Unit and other agencies to address this problem and to educate our residents on the dangers of these drugs,” explains Danny Aikman, Deputy Chief, Cornwall Community Police Service.
The task force is currently developing a comprehensive awareness campaign to bring more attention to the issue. “ In September, we’ll be hosting an OxyContin workshop for physicians and pharmacists. The goal is to bring more awareness to the issue and work together on possible solutions to help protect the residents in our communities,” explains Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health, Eastern Ontario Health Unit.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, call Addiction Services of Eastern Ontario at 613936-9236, Withdrawal Management Services at 613-938-8506, the Mental Health Crisis line at 1-866-996-0991 or the Community Connections line ( Addiction and Mental Health Services Information and Referral Line) at 1866-632-8885 for Prescott-Russell or 1888-933-4141 for Cornwall, Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry.