‘Canada needs a better approach:’ Health groups want alternatives to opioids

Groups say best way to reduce opioid addiction is to not prescribe them

An interim report released at a Calgary pain management conference suggests the best way to cut down on opioid addiction is to not prescribe it in the first place.

Michael Heitshu of the Coalition for Safe and Effective Pain Management says a lack of affordable alternatives for painkillers in Canada is partly behind over-reliance on opioids and rising addiction rates.

He says many symptoms that lead to opioid prescriptions could be treated with other measures such as psychological treatments, physiotherapy, chiropractic care and occupational therapy.

Heitshu says it’s time for doctors to put down their prescription pads when it comes to opioids except as a last resort.

The study recommends provincial and federal governments consider adding alternative medicine to coverage under public health care.

A final report from the coalition is expected next year.

The Canadian Press

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