Lethbridge doctor shares thoughts on role of addiction in drug crisis

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An emergency doctor shared his perspective on how addiction is affecting the drug crisis at a luncheon in Lethbridge on Thursday. Matt Battochio reports – Oct 4, 2018

A Lethbridge emergency doctor shared his thoughts on how addiction is affecting the city’s drug crisis at a luncheon at the Lethbridge Legion on Thursday.

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Sean Wilde, who is an emergency physician at Chinook Regional Hospital, said he sees patients dealing with some kind of substance abuse every day.

“We see people who are both regular drug users, or who are more casual ones being affected by accidental overdoses,” Wilde said. “Sometimes there is loss of life, or a near loss of life.”

Wilde said while it is common for family members to bring in loved ones with functional addictions, it’s not what he sees most often.

“In our line of work, I’m pretty confident in saying that we see more of the homeless population, largely because they don’t have the other supports and often have nowhere to go,” Wilde said.

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The Lethbridge doctor also said while alcohol remains the number one abused substance, he’s also seeing an increase in methamphetamine abuse.

He hopes that by describing the science behind addiction he can make an impact.

“Just educate a little bit more about why addiction is so difficult to treat and overcome, in the hopes that it will help people understand some of the directions to take in future treatments,” Wilde said.

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The City of Lethbridge is taking a community-based approach in its next step to combat the drug crisis in the city. Public sessions are set to be held next Wednesday and Thursday at the Sandman Signature Hotel, where anyone can share their ideas to help solve the problem.

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