The region that includes Sarnia-Lamont still has one of the highest rates in Ontario for opioid recipes for pain.
"Despite the opiate crisis and public awareness, we do not see that the prescription of opiates falls down as it should be," says Dr. Blake Pearson, the new doctor of a doctor for the reduction of opiates for the local health care network, Erie St. Clair (LHIN) .
"So, my whole goal is to educate about alternatives and to establish programs so that we can reduce the rates of opiate prescribing within our LIN."
The Drug Policy Research Network in Ontario reported that the rate (of 1,000 people) of opioid prescribing of pain sufferers in 2017 ranges, in various regions of Ontario, from 85.7 to almost twice as high, to 168.4.
The Erie St. Clare rate, which includes Sarnia-Lampton, Chatham-Kent and Windsor-Essex, is 157.2.
That's about seven points from the 2016 rate – according to the Ontario trend – yet at the high end of the provincial spectrum.
The rate in the southwestern part of LHIN, which includes London and the surrounding countries, was 126.1
Pearson, a medical doctor specialized in medical cannabis treatment for patients with care for conditions such as epilepsy and chronic pain, said he was waiting for the beginning of the month by the end of this month in his medical role to deal with the specifics of his strategy.
"However, I look forward to working closely with doctors, health professionals and other experts in the ESC region to develop a progressive strategy to make a real impact on the problems of opioid and other addictions that affected our community," he wrote, -post.
Pearson also recently returned from several conferences in Israel, the United States and Canada, where he presented his research on cannabinoid medicine.
"There were some really convincing evidence from not only myself, but researchers in Israel," he said, that the use of cannabis can reduce the use of antipsychotic drugs and opioids in elderly patients, including those with dementia who need sedation .
"I think we are still a bit farther away from the doctors as a whole to accept this because of the lack of randomized controlled double-blind trials we are accustomed to as a gold standard," Pearson said, but noted that research is underway.
Meanwhile, much of the damage to the opioid crisis comes from drug use on the street, but reducing recipes where it can reasonably be good, said Irfan Dahl, vice president of healthcare Ontario.
"We prescribe opioids much more than doctors do in many other countries, so it's probably a good thing if we start opioids a little bit."
In Canada in 2017, some 4,000 people, six in Sarnia-Lambton, died of reported opioid overdoses.
The quality of Ontario's health has no official position to prescribe medical cannabis as an alternative, Dala said.
"But I know many doctors consider it very reasonable to prescribe medical marijuana, especially if it results in someone who is high in opioid doses coming from those drugs."
Pearson advises patients to consult a doctor before starting cannabinoid medicine because they can communicate with other medicines.
"Just because it's legal does not mean it's necessary for sure."
Individual opioid recipes for pain (2017):
– Erie St. Clair
157.2 – a rate of 1000 people
– Southwestern LIN
126.1 – Rate of 1,000
110.2 – the rate per 1000 people
Source: Drug Policy Research Network in Ontario