Opioids are a family of drugs that have morphine-like effects. Doctors typically prescribe opioids to relieve chronic pain. Chronic pain is defined as pain lasting more than three months and can be a result of conditions such as osteoarthritis, migraines, rheumatoid arthritis or lower back pain. About 20 per cent of Canadians suffer from this type of pain.
The problem with Opioids is that anyone who takes opioids regularly will develop physical dependence. Opioids are addictive and can be dangerous.1
According to the Canadian Government, Canadians are the world’s second largest per capita consumer of prescription opioids after Americans.2 But while U.S. use is beginning to decline, Canada’s numbers keep rising, according to the International Narcotic Control Board, which monitors countries’ prescribing levels.3
We are in the midst of an epidemic of opioid use and abuse. Over the last few years there has been a dramatic rise in opioid deaths in Ontario.4
As redress, on May 8, 2017, the Canadian Medical Association published new guidelines for prescribing opioids.5 The new recommendations seek to minimize harm for a range of patients with chronic pain, including people with current or past substance-use disorders, other psychiatric disorders and those who suffer from persistent pain despite opioid therapy.
Of the key recommendations in the guidelines the one that I want to address is:
“For patients with chronic, non-cancer pain, before considering opioids use non-opioid pharmaceuticals like some anti-inflammatory medications (such as NSAIDs). Also, consider non-pharmaceutical therapy like physiotherapy or massage therapy.”6
Bill 41, the Patient’s First Act, 2016, is about integration of the regulated health professions in Ontario. Helping patients choose and receive the type of treatments that will best serve their needs.
Homeopathic medicine is the most effective alternative treatment to opioids. Here is why:
- No side effects
- Non addictive
- Homeopathic treatment is typically a short term therapy
- Homeopathic treatment is very cost effective
Homeopathy could be a first line pain therapy whose efficacy would be determined quite quickly. Homeopathic treatment could divert many patients away from the dangers of opioids. Homeopathic treatment can also address withdrawal symptoms from opioid use.
If you would like more information you can contact me at 416-823-7918.
Mural by street artist Smokey D. about the fentanyl and opioid overdose crisis, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, B.C.
4. Gomes T, Greaves S, Martins D, et al. Latest Trends in Opioid-Related Deaths in Ontario: 1991 to 2015. Toronto: Ontario Drug Policy Research Network; April 2017. http://odprn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/ODPRN-Report_Latest-trends-in-opioid-related-deaths.pdf