Putting dent in drugs
Efforts to address increase in prescriptions for opiates and the number of users meeting with success, says health minister
Island doctors are writing fewer prescriptions for opiates and the number of users is down, too.
“We’ve seen a substantial decline in the volume of (prescriptions), particularly two opioids, Oxycontin and Percoset; 180,000 pills off the streets,’’ Health Minister Doug Currie told The Guardian following question period Friday.
There has been a 22 per cent decrease for prescriptions and a 15 per cent decrease in users. Codeine saw a 20 per cent decrease for prescriptions and a 20 per cent decrease in users, according to numbers provided by the minister.
Currie said the decrease follows the introduction of the Narcotics Safety and Awareness Act, which allows the Department of Health to monitor and analyze information on narcotics and controlled substances dispenses in P.E.I.
“Here in the province we’ve seen a substantial rise in those ( prescriptions) but it falls in line with the prescribing of the top opioids across Canada.’’
Since 2000, that increase has amounted to 204 per cent.
Two years ago, the minister opened a dialogue with the P. E. I. Medical Society and Health P.E.I. to address the matter and brought in the awareness act.
“We created a public awareness by bringing in the legislation and I think the public became more aware of the risks and access issues in our community.’’
He said that and the investment into the methadone program is making inroads.
“We’re seeing little to no wait times for addiction beds at our provincial facilities. The investments we’ve made have been strategic.’’