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According to a number of news sources this morning,  “Ontario plans to treat patients addicted to opioids with a safer but more expensive pharmaceutical therapy and to open pain clinics to improve access to medical care.”1

 

I am horrified. 

 

I have worked in some of Toronto’s top pain clinics. I have worked alongside doctors who are renowned for their swift use of lidocaine and botox for nerve block injections. I also have worked alongside the same doctors who have continuously over-prescribed narcotics, catered to opiate addiction, and aided to the deaths of innocent people.

While the government is taking notice to the rising number of opiate deaths per year, have they thought to ask why? How?  

No… and the the answer is MONEY, dirty, dirty MONEY. Most “Pain Specialists” cater to opiate addiction. Period.

life-saving-swimming-tube-737370_960_720To them, the responsibility of properly caring for and observing an addiction risk is blinded by the $$$ potential of each patient.

I have witnessed “Pain Specialists” abuse administrative staff and the OHIP billing system recklessly. I have seen coverups and negligence, all while these doctors continue to open clinics across the city!?

At Yonge & Dundas,  the patient demographic primarily consists of those in the lower income bracket. The majority of patients have some sort of social aid, many of which are part of the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). Few have traveled hours from outside the city to see the “specialist”, others are here, just like they’ve been every week for the past year.

Generally, in very blatant terms, the typical appointment goes as follows:

1.) Please pee in a cup (OHIP: ~ $30.00)  

Doctor: Its not like we will say anything if you are positive for cocaine or fentanyl (which you haven’t been prescribed.) We just want to clear your name with OHIP, plus appear to the college that we are following protocol. We will take note that you did the urinalysis, but don’t you worry; it will be input as it should properly (wink……/ I won’t do anything to intervene with possible opiate abuse or the selling of the prescriptions I prescribe to you, yet it is not in your urine.)

 

2.) Tray Fee (OHIP: ~ $60.00)

Doctor: Now I’m going to review your chart. I may look at you or dismiss you completely depending on how well my stocks are doing this morning. I could indulge in a 60 minute conversation about the future of porpoise mammals; all those patients in the waiting room will wait for their drugs, haha.

 

3.) Nerve Block (OHIP: ~ $40 per site)

Doctor: So, are you in pain?

I won’t do anything if you don’t like needles. BUT, I will say I did some injections because if I just gave an Rx refill every week, without consultation, I’d be audited!

If you are in pain, let me jab you with this needle in an un-compassionate way. It won’t really matter how well I administer these nerve block injections because 1.) you’re a dumb patient who doesn’t know how this should actually feel & 2.) by the time I’m done, you won’t feel anything anyways!  That being the case, it looks like we will do 10 injections, just because…you want relief right!?

 

4.) Rx (OHIP: ~ $60+)

Doctor: Here is a prescriptions for 60 tablets of OxyContin, and 60 tablets of Percocet. Take the ‘Oxy’ three times a day + the ‘Perc’ when needed. By the way, these go for $60-$80/pill on the street! Haha …. no actually don’t. But you can…

 

*Patient leaves clinic*

 

5.) OHIP Billing

Doctor: Hello secretary who I wish to be in high heels and perfumed, but also deal with urine cups and the disposal of needles. Please enter these charts into the Electronic Medical Records system and bill OHIP.

Secretary: There, like a zombie, she begins the data entry. She ends up charging OHIP, for a 15 min appointment, $550.00.

The doctor has 36 patients today…Some take more injections, higher dosages, but a typical billing to OHIP is around $20,000 A DAY.

 

With this kind of daily income, and support from the government (which has yet to find a way for huge corporate gain in the medical cannabis industry) – of course pain clinics will proliferate around the city!!!!!! And guess what, so will ADDICTION.

 

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The idea is: “Lets get the population dependent on opiates, which cause other problems like renal and liver failure. Then we will be able to prescribe them more medication to manage these adverse effects, while slowly building an addiction to the opiate used in the first place for pain management. Once the patient is hooked with addiction, lets continue prescribing the drug OR put them on something like Suboxone”, a drug now welcomed in Ontario pain clinics as a first-line treatment for opioid addiction.1

Suboxone contains agonistic properties, like those of morphine, oxycodone, fentanyl; It TOO is a habit-forming drug, even at regular doses, and “shouldn’t be taken by someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction”.2

This drug is a narcotic and can cause addiction, overdose and death.2

Like opioids, it also has unpleasant withdrawal symptoms and frequent blood tests will be needed to check liver function.2

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“Canada is the world’s second-largest per capita consumer of opioids and the fallout is being felt across the country”1, following good old Big Pharma – America. It was just last week that a report found that from 2009 to 2014, at least 655 Canadians died as a result of fentanyl overdose, a powerful opioid that is prescribed to those suffering from chronic pain.1  

I myself know of two patients who were killed by acclaimed Pain Specialists. An older female patient died of renal failure; the other due to blunt force trauma caused by someone wanting to steal their fentanyl. The rational of the doctors was “They were old”, “He was poor, what did you expect?”. I can tell you now, she didn’t want to take the opiates in the first place; he requested physiotherapy for months instead.

Do No Harm – yea right.

“Ontario plans to treat patients addicted to opioids with a safer but more expensive pharmaceutical therapy and to open pain clinics to improve access to medical care.”1

What about the integrity of the doctor? What about actual patient care and counselling? Will there be a clinical psychologist made available, covered by OHIP, for monitoring of these patients?

If a patient could benefit more from higher contents of magnesium in their diet, epsom salt baths, and a cannabis edible at night…. there won’t be any $60 tray fee. There won’t be a needs for a “safer but more expensive pharmaceutical therapy”. 1

I woke up to today’s Globe and Mail, front page :

Ontario plans new treatment for opioid addiction

But it should read:

Ontario introduces new opiate and opens more pain clinics to cater to opioid addiction, in response to the loss of patients (consumers) who have resorted to cannabis as a proper and safer way of pain management.

-LV

Lucy Vera is a contributing writer and member of SoCo Medical. 


1.
HOWLETT K. Ontario plans new treatment for opioid addiction. The Globe and Mail. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/ontario-plans-new-treatment-for-opioid-addiction/article32325988/. Published October 12, 2016. Accessed October 12, 2016.
2.
Cerner Multum I. Suboxone Pronunciation Generic Name: buprenorphine and naloxone (BUE pre NOR feen and nal OX one) Brand Names: Bunavail, Suboxone, Zubsolv. Drugs: Know more. Be sure. https://www.drugs.com/suboxone.html. Published July 26, 2016. Accessed October 12, 2016.