Bioethics News

The Fentanyl Crisis: Treat It as a Public Health Emergency

April 12, 2016

(The Globe and Mail) – Canada has a massive and spreading problem of fentanyl addiction. As a Globe and Mail investigation has revealed, it happened quickly, little noticed by the wider public, and left largely unaddressed by those government officials who could see what was happening.Canada is now believed to be the world’s largest per-capita consumer of therapeutic opioids. Until the mid-1990s, these powerful painkillers were rarely used by doctors, reserved for cases such as cancer patients suffering debilitating pain. But in 1996, Health Canada approved OxyContin, and physicians began widely prescribing the new painkiller. Stories of its power, its dangers and its addictive quality were soon widespread.

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