Experts tell CMA that medical profession must accept responsibility for opioid crisis

A panel of experts at the annual meeting of the Canadian Medical Association says the medical profession must accept responsibility for the opioid crisis and be involved in the effort to solve it.

Calgary-based anesthetist Dr. David Milne told about 12-hundred delegates in Quebec City there is a long history of doctors overprescribing opioids to manage patients with chronic pain, and there will need to be multiple strategies to rectify the problem.

Dr. David Juurlink, head of clinical pharmacology and toxicology at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, says there is an entire generation of doctors who have come to view opioids as go-to drugs for main management, and other alternatives need to be considered.

Juurlink said the medical community was misled in the 1990's by drug makers about the potential harms of opioids.

He pointed to U-S-based Purdue Pharma, which claimed its slow-release drug OxyContin posed little danger of addiction, even with long-term use.

Last year, 967 people died of an opioid-related overdose in B-C alone.