Drug abuse patients will now have better access to the drug Suboxone after the Manitoba government expressed their intentions to address the opioid crisis by improving rehabilitation efforts.
According to Kelvin Goertzen, Manitoba’s Health Minister, ”There are far too many Manitobans that find themselves with an addiction, whether it’s opiates or others, because they simply did not know what it is they were taking, or did not know the deadly effects of the drugs they were taking.”
“This will help Manitobans with opioid addictions recover and lead healthier lives.” He added. Manitoba’s health program Pharmacare will now include Suboxone under their span of coverage. Pharmacare is go-to for people with low-level incomes in Manitoba.
According to the Health Minister, doctors will undergo a six to eight-hour training regarding the drug after which they would have more freedom in prescribing the drug to patients.
It has been reported that a provincial spokesman said estimated 40 to 50 doctors in Manitoba has already undergone the necessary training for the drug. Pharmacists will also be allowed to prescribe the drug as long as they undergo they undergo the same training.
Dr. Joss Reimer of Winnipeg Regional Health Authority applauded the government’s Monday announcement; however, he added that it is necessary that a provincial-wide program needs to be implemented to effectively reduce the drug addiction problem. According to her, “Right now we have organizations functioning at the community levels but to have something from top-down that could meet them in the middle would probably be the best way that we could address the situation.”
Ben Fry from Addictions Foundation of Manitoba believes that adding Suboxone under Pharmacare is a worthy investment. He believes that it could be a “ray of sunshine” for both patients and their families. “It’s an investment worth making,” he said.
“For every dollar of investment in addictions and mental health, it saves $7 of longer-term health-care costs,” Fry added, citing a 2015 report from Manitoba’s health office.
“In my own family we have been touched significantly by addiction,” Goertzen said.”My father was an addict and died from his addiction, so I know how complex these issues are and how difficult they are. And I also know how difficult it is to speak out about addiction. I’m pleased that many of the families that have been touched continue to do so.”
Dr. Ginette Poulin of the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba said Suboxone is a safer alternative to methadone. According to her, “Importantly, with the increased accessibility of these two opiate agonist treatments, we not only increase the chances of success for patients, but we also improve health and social outcomes on both the individual and at the population level.”
Manitoba is the fifth city to adopt Suboxone in their health program after the recommendations from government officials to all provinces with regards to opioid addictions last fall.
Suboxone is seen to be the next best alternative to treat opioid dependencies, however, it itself can cause addiction if not used well. Patients showing symptoms of addiction to Suboxone need to call a professional and follow these simple guidelines to escape their addiction.