Pharma: December 2011 Archives

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Generation Rx: The Use and Abuse of Prescription Pain Medication

A generation ago, it was considered medical heresy to prescribe strong narcotics to people with chronic pain.  But, a new way of thinking about pain made it more acceptable for doctors to prescribe these drugs. Along with that came the arrival of long-acting opioids like OxyContin, Duragesic, Hydromorph Contin and others - drugs that when used as directed, were supposedly less likely than short-acting narcotics to lead to addiction.  I know, because I taught many doctors how to prescribe narcotics responsibly.   And in the interests of full disclosure, some of those lectures were paid for by the very drug companies that stood to make large profits from the sale of the medication. 

In properly selected patients, narcotics can reduce pain and improve their lives.  But the tragic stories of lives ruined - if not lost - plus some alarming statistics show us that something has clearly gone wrong. That's why we've convened our town hall.  To talk about the extent of the problem of opioid use and abuse, to find out how we got here, and to talk about what more can be done to prevent further addictions and deaths. 

To hear the Generation Rx, download the podcast, or click on the play button below.  You can also tune in Saturday December 3 at 11:30 am (noon NT) and again on Monday December 5 at 11:30 am (3:30 pm NT) on CBC Radio One.

And next week on the show, we'll have a bonus segment from the town hall about the role doctors have played.  And listen for a full one hour version later this month - also on CBC Radio One. More details about that soon.


        Our panelists Christine Bois, Detective Shawn White and Dr. Andrea Furlan.
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