Narcotics safety act called short on consultation
An act before the P.E.I. legislature to give the government tighter control over the prescribing of narcotics should have been subject to more consultation, says the Opposition.
The proposed Narcotics Safety and Awareness Act requires medical professionals keep records of prescriptions for narcotics, and gives government the ability to monitor and notify the authorities if it suspects over-prescribing.
The legislation provides for fines of up to $20,000 and jail terms of up to a year for offenders.
Opposition leader Steven Myers says government should have consulted more widely with doctors in drafting the legislation. Myers noted prescription drug abuse is becoming a serious issue amongst youth on the Island.
"We need to do everything we can do to fix the problem," he said.
"It's important to consult to make sure that the steps that we're taking are clear and concise, and actually attack the problem."
Health Minister Doug Currie said there were minimal consultations with doctors, and he sees nothing wrong with that.
"We didn't roll out an extensive consultation with the physicians in the province. I don't feel that was necessary," said Currie.
"I recognize that drug therapy in a range of different settings is important for treatment. But I also recognize we're seeing intense growth in the level of opioids and painkillers in the province."
Myers said he'd like to see government spend the remaining time of the fall sitting of the legislature consulting with doctors, law enforcement and families on the problem of prescription drug abuse.