Safe supply: The debate around prescribing opioids to people who use drugs

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  • Randy Roberts says:

    I understand you’re angry but I don’t understand nor do I condone you taking it out on people with opiate use disorders. 20 thousand Canadians are dead including my children’s mother who had a right to life. You’re made because you want free pot provided by the government, If I needed it for medical reasons and it showed clear benefits than it should be covered under an insurance plan including provincial plans for those on disabilities. But what really hurt was the language you use to identify your partner, Bitch? Really? I think you need to stop worrying that others are getting more than you so they should die and rather on helping yourself overcome that toxic hate that I am positive comes out in the form of domestic violence. Get help for your partners sake and in the mean time, start growing your own free weed.

  • Kelly Anthony says:

    The doctor with ‘concerns’ is unwilling/unable to be identified. This speaks volumes about the need for healthy debate on this pressing issue.

  • Kalie says:

    I am frustrated as a chronic pain patient who’s doctor has stopped prescribing hydromorphone-contin. I now take Suboxone that has caused an 8 month long headache and anxiety. Despite not addressing my original pain and adding a new pain my doctor is resolute. I’m happy that there’s a move for a safe supply for people dealing with addiction but there’s a lack of research and solutions or for the pendulum to swing back on opiates for chronic pain patients.

  • Ininiwiiskwew says:

    Prescribers face a catch 22 dilemma, but it’s something where lawyers have to become devils advocates in certain criminal situations.

  • Giulia Di Giorgio says:

    I love this article and these people. I’ve been waiting so long to see this happen and commend you for being as proactive and courageous as you are; I hope all primary care will recognize the benefits of a safe supply and Canada will be commended for being instrumental in dismantling the the old system of “treatment” that is too narrow and rigid and perpetuates the cycle that keeps ppl down.

  • Robert Casaletto says:

    In the US Doctors refuse to even write prescriptions for any opioids. If you are elderly and have any degree of pain, it is impossible to get a prescription for an opioid. I have Scoliosis and they won’t write them for me. Maybe I should move to Canada.

  • K. Kilburn says:

    First of all, the last time I checked, about four years ago, there was not a single medical school in Ontario that had a mandatory core course in substance use and misuse, and related responses (prevention, harm reduction, treatment). Mandatory. Core.

    Given this long-lasting and unprofessional, unethical, failure, I would most strongly urge all physicians, regarding this issue, to consult with a sound research organization, such as the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, or the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research at UVic, for information and advice.

    And second, it is critical for all physicians, once informed by one of the above institutions, and the federal Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse, to actively lobby, within their own organizations, and with provincial and federal politicians and ministries, for reforms to legislation.

    People are dying. And they matter

    • Vera-D. says:

      In Canada you won’t be given painkillers either. They are reserved for addicts not people with chronic pain. We’ve already had a few patients “put down” here for pain, so not terminal. Patient A.B. in Ontario qualified for medical aid in dying because of osteoarthritis. The elder-care industry actually benefits as the less you can do for yourself, the more money to be made providing daily support tasks for you. If you lived in 1900 you could buy patent medicine with opiates in your situation and have a better quality of life.

      • roni says:

        1. My husband was prescribed a number of medications for his pain over the years. One was addictive, but he did not learn that until that was pointed out by a specialist, then he stopped taking it.

        2. Not all physicians are the same. There are such thing called ”addiction physicians”, and many physicians in community health centres and downtown Toronto make a point to update themselves and learn from their patients and community partners. UT mentioned in the article, specifically have research on drug use and this overdose crisis as well.

        Thank you for speaking out, and sharing your stories.

      • Randy Roberts says:

        Excuse Vera but please don’t make discriminate and untruthful comments. If you can’t get access to pain meds that is not the fault of people with substance use disorders(SUD). In fact, many of those with SUD or victims of the pharmaceutical companies who lied about the addictiveness of some pain meds. There’s a couple of class action lawsuits declaring the same statement. People do have limited access to pain meds, there just not given out in the high doses they once were.


Dafna Izenberg


Dafna is the Managing editor of special projects at Maclean’s Magazine.

Seema Marwaha


Seema Marwaha is a general internal medicine physician, educator, researcher and journalist in Toronto.

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