A man who recently returned home to P.E.I., who had been receiving addiction treatment with methadone in Ontario, is finding it impossible to get the drug on the Island, and he is terrified of the coming withdrawal symptoms.
'I just keep getting the same thing, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry."' — Man seeking methadone prescription renewal
The man, who asked CBC News not to use his name for fear of repercussions for his family, came back to P.E.I. to be close to his aging parents. But he's found he can't get his methadone prescription renewed on P.E.I., because there's no room for him in the province's methadone treatment program right now.
"I stay up thinking about it all the time," he said.
He said he hasn't slept in days. He's worried about the end of his methadone supply, and the start of a brutal withdrawal, about which he has heard many nightmare stories,
"I'm not scared I'm terrified," he said.
He became addicted to oxycocet he was taking for chronic pain. The switch to methadone, he said, gave him his life back. He returned to P.E.I two weeks ago, and immediately began to try to get his prescription renewed.
"Six different doctors' offices I've called, the detox centre, addictions," he said.
"I just keep getting the same thing, 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry.'"
Long waiting list
Addictions East manager Darren O'Handley said doctors need special authorization from Health Canada and the P.E.I. College of Physicians to prescribe methadone. All 160 spots in the provincial methadone treatment program are full. There are 140 people on the waiting list, and there's no queue jumping.
"Service demand for that treatment outweighs service offers across the country. Every province is looking at the situation," said O'Handley.
O'Handley said a review of the program should be complete in about a month, and that could lead to changes in the way the drug is administered on P.E.I.
The man is hoping something happens to keep the methadone coming before withdrawal symptoms start.