LETTER: No correct dose for illicit drugs

The Feb. 7 editorial stated that overdose deaths increased from 914 in 2016 to 1,422 in 2017.

The Canadian Medical Association Journal published a letter in January, by Xie, Green, Puri & Sheikh about “Updating our language around substance use disorders,” which included the following:

“The term ‘overdose’ suggests that the patient knows the nature of the substance taken and has taken more than what she or he was tolerant to or intended to use. ‘Overdose’ also implies that there is a correct dose. No correct dose exists for use of illicit formulations. Opioid formulations sold in unregulated markets have variable and unknown potency, so dosing is impossible. In addition, people lose tolerance because of inconsistent use and concurrent illness. Consequently, we suggest that the more precise term ‘poisoning’ be used. This use of words is compatible with public understanding regarding other substances: we say ‘alcohol poisoning,’ not ‘alcohol overdose.’”

The opioid crisis affects people throughout Canada and the U.S. The crisis has been caused by the sudden availability of the synthetic opioid fentanyl, most of which is probably synthesized in laboratories in China. Fentanyl is cheap and extremely powerful. It is mixed with other products sold on the black market. Users don’t know what they are getting. A big dose of any opioid can cause respiratory arrest: the person stops breathing.

The use of recreational chemicals is a medical problem. If a person feels she or he needs an opioid, it is safer to get a known amount of a medication under professional supervision than to use an unknown product from a friend or dealer. Island Health funds Mental Health and Addictions – Addictions Services.

Robert Shepherd

Saanich

Just Posted

Four-sailing wait at BC Ferries Swartz Bay terminal

Full vessels create long waits on Friday afternoon

A year in tent city: Timeline of Camp Namegans

Since September 2017, Victoria’s homeless camp has set up in more than 20 locations

Tent city campers prepare to leave Uplands Park

Vehicle access remains restricted at Cattle Point

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

‘Repeat test fails’ clogging up the system, says ICBC

Increased driver education key to shorter wait times, safer roads

WATCH: Twelve Angry Jurors puts a new spin on an old tale

Canadian College of Performing Arts opens season with reworked version of Reginald Rose teleplay

B.C. tickets win big in Lotto Max draw

Jackpot carried over; B.C. tickets share Max Millions prizes

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for Oct. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you support amalgamation for communities in the Capital Region?

Residents in Victoria and Saanich will be voting on Oct. 20 on… Continue reading

‘Mom, I’m in trouble:’ Canadian faces 10 years for alleged graffiti

Brittney Schneider, another tourist caught spraying message on walls of Tha Pae Gate in Thailand

Feds consulting on national anti-racism strategy behind closed doors

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says people still face systemic racism in some communities

Enbridge aims for mid-November to finish B.C. pipeline repair after blast

A natural gas pipeline that ruptured and burned near Prince George caused an explosion and fireball

How to get government cheques if Canada Post staff go on strike

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said members could go on rotating strikes as early as Monday

Most Read