Too little data for doctors to recommend e-cigarettes

Sachin Pendharkar healthy debate blogger

Read Healthy Debate’s analysis on Regulating the ‘wild west’ of e-cigarettes. As respirologists, we are frequently asked for our opinion on e-cigarettes. At first glance there appears to be some potential positives. While one study suggested that there could be a role for these devices in helping active smokers quit tobacco, a more recent small study

Regulating the ‘wild west’ of e-cigarettes

E-cigarettes have exploded onto the market in recent years and there are multi-billion dollar questions swirling around them. Advocates say that they offer a safe and effective smoking cessation aid while opponents are concerned that they may erode the success of decades of tobacco reduction efforts. E-cigarettes have the appearance of tobacco cigarettes and simulate

Let’s call heroin deaths what they are: preventable

Amy Katz

‘Worldwide, overdose is the leading cause of avoidable death among people who use injection drugs.’ United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2013 In newspapers, on social media, and on tv, the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman is being framed as a tragedy. We have heard this narrative before. Someone famous dies from an

Canada’s prescription opioid crisis

There is a prescription opioid crisis in Canada. While these drugs are effective in treating acute pain, and pain near the end of life, the evidence to support long-term use in patients with chronic pain is weak, and for many people the harms exceed the benefits. Prescription opioids are also highly addictive and easily misused.

Federal position on medical heroin ignores evidence, hurts patients

Medical heroin

Amid the uproar over crack in Toronto, a very different story about the complexities of addiction and the need for compassion is playing out in Vancouver: celebrated litigator Joseph Arvay is again advocating for addicts in one of Canada’s poorest neighbourhoods, Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. However, this new legal challenge should not be necessary. In 2011,

It’s time to make addictions medicine a bigger part of medical education

Prabhpreet Hundal Healthy Debate blogger

Approximately 1 in 10 Canadians describe symptoms consistent with alcohol or illicit drug dependence. Yet, the undergraduate medical education system devotes a total of 12 hours of curricular time to addiction medicine, not a proportionate response to the severity of the problem. Addictions place a serious burden on the healthcare system, costing Canadians an estimated

New federal rules for supervised injection sites – evidence or ideology?

Ahmed Bayoumi

On June 6, the federal government introduced Bill C-65 entitled the “Respect for Communities Act” which sets out in legislation the requirements for operating supervised injection sites. Such sites are facilities where individuals can consume illicitly obtained drugs under supervision from a health professional and without being prosecuted. There is currently only one supervised injection

Addiction is not a disease of society’s margins

Addiction Oxycontin prescription painkiller oxycodone

The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) and its National Advisory Council on Drug Misuse recently released a national strategy: “First Do No Harm: Responding to Canada’s Prescription Drug Crisis.” The plan, which focuses on education, treatment, and multiple levels of prevention, could not have come sooner. National leadership on this issue is desperately needed.

Addiction: bridging the emotional barrier to effective care

People who suffer from addiction don’t always put their best foot forward.  Often an individual under the influence (or withdrawing from) a substance will engage in all kinds of unsightly, anti-social behaviour.  From my limited medical student window into their life, I get to witness some of this behaviour up close.  Perhaps they are acting

Undoing the damage of OxyContin

Irfan Dhalla blog editor

Monday’s announcement by federal health minister Leona Aglukkaq that she will not interfere with the approval of generic OxyContin is just the latest development in what has become a major public health crisis. In Canada, overdose deaths involving prescription medications now vastly outnumber deaths from HIV. By some estimates, prescription drug overdoses have killed 100,000

My experience with stigma within the health care profession

Mental Health Addictions Stigma

I would like to start out by thanking all the fantastic health care workers. As a recovering person with diagnosed concurrent disorders – having both addictions and mental health issues – I have seen the challenges and abuse often faced by doctors, nurses, counsellors and support staff working within the healthcare system. This article is

Why has Ontario introduced a new narcotics strategy?

Why has Ontario introduced a new narcotics strategy?

Deaths from prescription opioids have increased in Ontario over the past two decades as opioids have become more commonly used to treat pain. The Ontario government has introduced legislation to better monitor opioid prescriptions and to educate doctors and the public about the danger of opioids. The only unusual thing about the death of Heath Ledger,