June 3, 2017 2:30 pm

COMMENTARY: Dear Federal Minister of Health Jane Philpott: Are chronic pain patients victims of government attack?

Minister of Health Jane Philpott will join Roy Green to discuss opioids and chronic pain patients.


You have heard chronic pain patients express their fear of the Canadian and provincial governments because their opioid medications, prescribed by their doctors, are being cut back, or cut off entirely.

These medications are the only things that allow patients experiencing horrendous pain to live a manageable life, and they’re the sole barrier between thoughts of suicide, as well as the cause of suicide.

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Patients have said exactly that on air.  Yet, with up to 1.5 million chronic pain patients in Canada, I’m told they have no voice, that they are misrepresented in media stories fed by government ministries, as drug addicts craving their opioids.  Not so.

Next time you’re delivered a statistic which delivers numbers of opioid users who have overdosed and died, ask specifically if these unfortunate souls were generic drug addicts or chronic pain patients. Go ahead. Ask.

On Saturday, I have questions for the federal Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Philpott, who expressed interest in appearing on my program. Why? We’ll find out.

READ MORE: Opioid education program

I have many questions for Dr. Philpott, including why she and her Ontario counterpart held a Summit on opioid use in Ottawa, and the only stakeholders not invited were the chronic pain patients and their doctors. They were told they could watch by webcam. What was the reason?

Most fundamentally, why are chronic pain patients lumped with generic addicts? Why is the Minster of Health suggesting prescribed heroin for generic addicts at safe injection sites?

You’ll hear the minister and a chronic pain patient who was with us last Sunday, in response to the minister.

The issue of Paul Bernardo’s approaching parole appeal eligibility and Karla Homolka volunteering at a Quebec school where her children attend will be discussed with French and Mahaffy families’ lawyer Tim Danson. I know Tim well, having served as national trustee for the families’ Victims Assistance Fund during the Bernardo trial and before that, working with him on another nationally profiled case.

READ MORE: Karla Homolka will no longer volunteer at her children’s Montreal school


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