Dialogue Volume 13 Issue 3 2017 - Page 7

FROM THE REGISTRAR’S DESK Update on Progress in Our Opioid Strategy Rocco Gerace, MD Registrar As we confront this catastrophic crisis, it is important that patients’ voices continue to be heard. I n this issue of Dialogue, we publish the stories of two women whose lives were devastated by opioids. Donna May relives her pain as she talks about watching her daughter, Jac, succumb to addiction – an addic- tion that would eventually claim her young life. And Natalie Hache has her own harrowing story of a life ruined by opioid addiction. At one point, as the effect of the dosage waned, she started taking more and more pills to help her get through her waitressing shifts. When she real- ized that the drugs would work faster if she crushed and snorted them, she started doing just that. “By then, I had pretty much figured out that I was hooked. But I wasn’t willing to accept that it was a problem,” said Natalie. “In my twisted thinking, I thought it’s okay, it’s a prescription, and I’m not doing anything illegal. My doctor gave it to me.” Both women, despite their experiences, say that they are not anti-pharmaceutical. Both women say they know people who have benefited from opioid therapy. But they also believe that a physician has a responsibility to pay close atten- tion to a patient’s mental health and both Jac and Natalie suffered psychological anguish that may have made them unsuitable candidates for opioid therapy. As we confront this catastrophic crisis, it is important that patients’ voices continue to be heard. I thank both Natalie and Donna for their courage and generosity in sharing their intensely personal stories with us. In our previous issue, we laid out our opioid strategy and the actions that we would take to address this devastating epidemic. The College’s opioid strategy is grounded in our steadfast commitment to improved patient and public safety. It identifies and commits the CPSO to specific actions within our legislated area of responsibility, and we are committed to reporting on our progress. Recently, we released an update on our progress in our four-pronged approach that reflects our mandate, namely to: Guide; Assess; Investi- gate; and Facilitate Education. ISSUE 3, 2017 DIALOGUE 7