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2011 Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

CAMH expert participates in CBC town hall on prescription pain medication

Special edition of White Coat Black Art airs Dec. 27, 5-6 p.m.
The national medical CBC radio show White Coat Black Art with Dr. Brian Goldman recently hosted a town hall entitled “Generation Rx: The Use and Abuse of Prescription Pain Medication.” This town hall has resulted in three radio shows covering the complex issues related to prescription painkillers, including a one-hour special edition of White Coat Black Art which will air on Tuesday, December 27 from 5-6 p.m.
“This town hall special is an excellent national discussion forum to raise awareness about the risks and cautions of prescription painkillers,” says Christine Bois, Manager of CAMH’s OpiATE project and a member of the town hall expert panel.
“The producers and host of this CBC media event have produced a show that gives a balanced view of the issues surrounding the problems with these drugs. There was a range of opinions that covered many of the complexities of problems with prescription painkillers,” adds Bois.
During the town hall, the audience shared comments and stories. Two people in particular shared moving personal stories about the tragedies of drug overdoses—a mother who lost her 19 year old son, Dustin King, and a woman who lost her sister, Donna Bertrand.
Bois was joined on the panel by Dr. Andrea Furlan, a chronic pain physician and scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and the leader of the research team that developed the Canadian Guideline for Safe and Effective Use of Opioids for Chronic Non-Cancer Pain, and Detective Staff Sergeant Shawn White from the Cornwall Police Services.
Medical expert and radio host Dr. Brian Goldman interviewed the panel members, who through in-depth answers provided clarity around the complex issues with prescription painkillers. Panel members provided pharmacological information and evidence-based data. Often, stories from the audience confirmed and reflected this evidence.
CAMH’s Christine Bois shared some statistics from this year’s Ontario Student Drug Use Health Survey (OSDUHS) that shows almost 11 per cent of students in grade eight have used prescription painkillers non-medically, while only 6 per cent of students had used cannabis. Students in the audience spoke about the how accessible these drugs were at school, and said teachers had never spoken to them about the risks of these drugs.
The problem of overprescribing by physicians was also discussed in detail, including by Dr. Furlan. Some members of the town hall audience shared their concerns around the ease with which patients can have up to100 Oxycontin pills prescribed at a time. The expert panel explained the hazards of mixing these pills with other drugs, such as alcohol.
For more information about the show, visit the Generation Rx page on the CBC website, and tune in to CBC radio on December 27 at 5 p.m. to hear the one-hour special.
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