New Online Resource Brings Opioid Addiction Out Of The Shadows
Opioidrecovery.ca provides much-needed answers for patients and families about the journey to recovery
TORONTO, June 16, 2014 /CNW/ – For the growing number of Canadians living with opioid addiction, deciding to get help is only half the battle. Unfortunately, actually figuring out the journey to recovery and getting treatment can be a long, hard road too. To help empower patients, give them hope and the tools they need to understand addiction and navigate the system, a new online resource, opioidrecovery.ca, launches today.
Opioid addiction, also known as the often unintentional addiction to painkillers, is a chronic medical condition affecting the brain that can be fatal if left untreated, but treatment is not always easy to come by. The social stigma associated with addiction causes many people to feel ashamed or afraid, holding them back from seeking help. For someone with opioid dependency, surviving the vicious cycles of intrusive and unwanted cravings and the crippling symptoms of withdrawal are all-consuming. The nature of this medical condition therefore makes it difficult for people to seek help.
Many with addictions who do seek help then struggle to navigate a complex system with barriers to getting the treatment they are desperate for. There are long wait times for addiction treatment in many parts of the country. And, those living outside major centres often have to travel far to find a doctor who treats opioid addiction.
“My addiction had taken control of my life, and I finally just hit a low point where I realized I had to make a change or I was going to die,” says Wendy Dickson, who has lived with opioid addiction. “I had a really hard time finding help – I didn’t know where to turn or what my treatment options were. With the help of my doctor, I eventually found a treatment that worked for me. Although it was a really long, painful process, I’m so glad I got help because it truly saved my life.”
Filling a Need for Canadians with Opioid Addiction
Opioidrecovery.ca is a resource that not only demonstrates through patient and medical professional videos and informative content that treatment is possible, it provides information on resources and links that can help patients take the first step, or get back on the road to recovery. From helping to determine if there’s a problem, to finding support services close to home, opioidrecovery.ca provides valuable information about what opioid addiction is, where and how to seek help, what different forms of treatment are available and what the journey to recovery could look like.
“We get so much of our health information online, and yet it was staggering to me that to my knowledge there wasn’t an online resource out there already that’s dedicated solely to informing Canadians living with an opioid addiction about how to get help and what the journey to recovery looks like,” says Dr. Joel Bordman, addiction and chronic pain physician and creator of opioidrecovery.ca. “My hope is that opioidrecovery.ca will provide some much-needed answers to patients and empower them to seek help and access the treatment they need.”
Providing Support Beyond the Patient Community
Addiction isn’t solitary- it affects a patient’s entire circle of family and friends. Watching a loved one suffer from addiction can destroy relationships. The “Friends and Families” section of opioidrecovery.ca offers advice on how to support a loved one, set boundaries, and navigate through the ups and downs of the recovery process.
The site provides information to health care professionals as well. Family physicians could play a bigger role in treating opioid addiction and making medical assistance more accessible in smaller communities, but they need more support to help them help patients. The “For Medical Professionals” section of opioidrecovery.ca provides educational content, tools and links to additional resources for physicians to help them feel more comfortable treating or guiding their patients through opioid addiction recovery and the process of seeking treatment.
About Opioid Addiction in Canada
Canada is in the midst of a public health crisis as more and more individuals from all walks of life become addicted to prescription painkillers, like oxycodone and fentanyl. In fact, Canada recently surpassed the United States as the number one per capita consumer of opioid medications worldwide.((1)) And, according to the 2012 Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey (CADUMS) survey, 243,000 Canadians 15 and older reported abusing opioids in the 12 months preceding the survey.(2)
Opioidrecovery.ca was developed by Dr. Joel Bordman, a physician with a focused practice on addiction and pain, and an advisory committee of health care professionals, psychosocial experts and patient advocates from across the country. It was designed to connect people living with an opioid addiction and their families with meaningful information and resources that may assist them on their journey of recovery. Opioidrecovery.ca was made possible by arms-length support from RB Pharmaceuticals in Canada.
(1) International Narcotics Control Board. February 2013. http://ppsg-production.heroku.com/chart.
(2) 2012 Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey (CADUMS). April 8, 2014. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/drugs-drogues/stat/_2012/summary-sommaire-eng.php.