OPINION from CANADA –
April 10, 2018 – Illicit fentanyl was the cause of the earliest deaths that the panel looked at. Now, Egilson said, the toxicology reports show that fentanyl is found in 80 per cent of those who have died. But he was careful to add that the panel only looked at overdose deaths. It didn’t look at the 25 to 50 “non-fatal, near-miss events.” Regardless, the B.C. College of Physicians had acted swiftly. In 2016, it brought in prescription standards and became the first in North America to threaten to revoke doctors’ licences if they didn’t comply or fine them up to $100,000. With little choice, some doctors cut back on prescriptions for chronic pain sufferers, causing them to suffer withdrawal, unremitting pain and thoughts about suicide. Others “fired” patients with chronic pain and refused to take on new patients with chronic pain. Some walk-in clinics posted signs saying that their doctors do not prescribe opiates. At the time, Dr. Owen Williamson said it was causing “chaos” and “mayhem” for both doctors and their patients with lupus, arthritis, fibromyalgia, spinal bifida, pain from accidents. Williamson is the president of the B.C. Pain Medicine Specialists Association.