An addict, a doctor and the owner of a methadone clinic say the issue is more complex than people realize

News Nov 14, 2017 by Victoria Gray Brant News

The pieces of Kay's life never really felt like they fit.

Kay, who wanted to remain anonymous, always felt a sense of disappointment when a new piece, like a husband or child, didn't bring her the fulfilment she craved, until she got sick.

She was in a hospital after experiencing abdominal pain and was given a routine shot of Demerol that triggered a 20-year dependence on opioids.

“It was the warmest feeling. It was like I was freezing and shivering and someone took a blanket out of the drier and draped it over me,” she said. “I didn't have all this shame occupying my brain and when I got home, all I could think about was that feeling.”

Kay was at the Grand River Community Health Centre (GRCHC) on Tuesday with Dr. Ann Griffin, a pain and methadone doctor as well as owner of the Grand River Clinic, William Brown, to talk about methadone therapy and harm vs. harm reduction as part of National Addiction Awareness Week.

Kay spent the next 20 years manipulating doctors, friends and family members, but she wasn't the average addict because she maintained an education and career, as a paramedic.

She was prescribed 100 percocets a month and said she was buying more than 200 on the street.

“My husband and I go to Florida every year and I had to make sure I had enough, so, for years I was smuggling drugs across the border,” she said. “There are things that I still feel shame for.”

She found getting aftercare help difficult because she didn't look like the average drug addict.

“People were surprised I wanted more help because I didn't look as bad off as other people,” she said.

The Simcoe resident eventually went to the Water Street Pharmacy and was given suboxone, a new methadone alternative, to help her become more functional.

Now, she is working as a supervisor in the health care industry. Although she doesn't think she will ever stop taking suboxone, she is on her way to recovery.

“It was like my whole life changed when I took it,” she said.

Brown said that methadone treatment is not the answer to the opioid crisis facing the province, it's just a piece of the puzzle.

“It's not the answer. It's not a cure, but it does help stabilize people,” he said. “When someone is addicted to opioids, they will do anything not to go into withdrawal.”

Brown, a pharmacist and businessman, said a good portion of methadone clinics are money making ventures, but they do help people stay on an even keel because they know they can come and get methadone daily.

Griffin said she estimates about 80 to 85 per cent of her patients who have drug dependencies may not have ended up there if they had access to psychiatric care and more mental health care in general.

“I think many people start off self-medicating and I feel like a lot of my job is listening to their concerns and trying to figure out triggers. I'm basically a psychiatrist with access to about four or five drugs,” she said.

Brad Kidder, a counsellor at GRCHC, said when people are trying to quit smoking, they often reach for a patch or nicotine gum to replace cigarettes, and that's what methadone is — a replacement for opioid drugs.

One is very socially acceptable, so I don't know why some people are against methadone,” he said.

He also said people become consumed with finding the drugs they need; it can take hours and they may spend more than $800 a day on the drug.

How do they get that money? They are breaking into people's homes, stealing things or selling their bodies. Methadone is harm reduction because the person knows they will get their drink at 10:30 a.m. every day and they can focus on eating, finding a place to live and working. That's the harm reduction — because of methadone, maybe those 10 break in or sex acts didn't happen,” he said.

National Addictions Awareness Week is hosting a mindset working shop at the Aboriginal Health Unit on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. as well as a smoking cessation seminar at the GRCHC from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The St. Leonard's Fairview Dr. location is hosting a paint party on Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon. Brantford Native Housing will have a prenatal information session on Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon and on Friday, they will host an infant and child moccasin making workshop.

The week will close on Friday with Soup in the Park from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Victoria Park.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/NAAWBrantford/.

An addict, a doctor and the owner of a methadone clinic say the issue is more complex than people realize

News Nov 14, 2017 by Victoria Gray Brant News

The pieces of Kay's life never really felt like they fit.

Kay, who wanted to remain anonymous, always felt a sense of disappointment when a new piece, like a husband or child, didn't bring her the fulfilment she craved, until she got sick.

She was in a hospital after experiencing abdominal pain and was given a routine shot of Demerol that triggered a 20-year dependence on opioids.

“It was the warmest feeling. It was like I was freezing and shivering and someone took a blanket out of the drier and draped it over me,” she said. “I didn't have all this shame occupying my brain and when I got home, all I could think about was that feeling.”

Kay was at the Grand River Community Health Centre (GRCHC) on Tuesday with Dr. Ann Griffin, a pain and methadone doctor as well as owner of the Grand River Clinic, William Brown, to talk about methadone therapy and harm vs. harm reduction as part of National Addiction Awareness Week.

Kay spent the next 20 years manipulating doctors, friends and family members, but she wasn't the average addict because she maintained an education and career, as a paramedic.

She was prescribed 100 percocets a month and said she was buying more than 200 on the street.

“My husband and I go to Florida every year and I had to make sure I had enough, so, for years I was smuggling drugs across the border,” she said. “There are things that I still feel shame for.”

She found getting aftercare help difficult because she didn't look like the average drug addict.

“People were surprised I wanted more help because I didn't look as bad off as other people,” she said.

The Simcoe resident eventually went to the Water Street Pharmacy and was given suboxone, a new methadone alternative, to help her become more functional.

Now, she is working as a supervisor in the health care industry. Although she doesn't think she will ever stop taking suboxone, she is on her way to recovery.

“It was like my whole life changed when I took it,” she said.

Brown said that methadone treatment is not the answer to the opioid crisis facing the province, it's just a piece of the puzzle.

“It's not the answer. It's not a cure, but it does help stabilize people,” he said. “When someone is addicted to opioids, they will do anything not to go into withdrawal.”

Brown, a pharmacist and businessman, said a good portion of methadone clinics are money making ventures, but they do help people stay on an even keel because they know they can come and get methadone daily.

Griffin said she estimates about 80 to 85 per cent of her patients who have drug dependencies may not have ended up there if they had access to psychiatric care and more mental health care in general.

“I think many people start off self-medicating and I feel like a lot of my job is listening to their concerns and trying to figure out triggers. I'm basically a psychiatrist with access to about four or five drugs,” she said.

Brad Kidder, a counsellor at GRCHC, said when people are trying to quit smoking, they often reach for a patch or nicotine gum to replace cigarettes, and that's what methadone is — a replacement for opioid drugs.

One is very socially acceptable, so I don't know why some people are against methadone,” he said.

He also said people become consumed with finding the drugs they need; it can take hours and they may spend more than $800 a day on the drug.

How do they get that money? They are breaking into people's homes, stealing things or selling their bodies. Methadone is harm reduction because the person knows they will get their drink at 10:30 a.m. every day and they can focus on eating, finding a place to live and working. That's the harm reduction — because of methadone, maybe those 10 break in or sex acts didn't happen,” he said.

National Addictions Awareness Week is hosting a mindset working shop at the Aboriginal Health Unit on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. as well as a smoking cessation seminar at the GRCHC from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The St. Leonard's Fairview Dr. location is hosting a paint party on Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon. Brantford Native Housing will have a prenatal information session on Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon and on Friday, they will host an infant and child moccasin making workshop.

The week will close on Friday with Soup in the Park from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Victoria Park.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/NAAWBrantford/.

An addict, a doctor and the owner of a methadone clinic say the issue is more complex than people realize

News Nov 14, 2017 by Victoria Gray Brant News

The pieces of Kay's life never really felt like they fit.

Kay, who wanted to remain anonymous, always felt a sense of disappointment when a new piece, like a husband or child, didn't bring her the fulfilment she craved, until she got sick.

She was in a hospital after experiencing abdominal pain and was given a routine shot of Demerol that triggered a 20-year dependence on opioids.

“It was the warmest feeling. It was like I was freezing and shivering and someone took a blanket out of the drier and draped it over me,” she said. “I didn't have all this shame occupying my brain and when I got home, all I could think about was that feeling.”

Kay was at the Grand River Community Health Centre (GRCHC) on Tuesday with Dr. Ann Griffin, a pain and methadone doctor as well as owner of the Grand River Clinic, William Brown, to talk about methadone therapy and harm vs. harm reduction as part of National Addiction Awareness Week.

Kay spent the next 20 years manipulating doctors, friends and family members, but she wasn't the average addict because she maintained an education and career, as a paramedic.

She was prescribed 100 percocets a month and said she was buying more than 200 on the street.

“My husband and I go to Florida every year and I had to make sure I had enough, so, for years I was smuggling drugs across the border,” she said. “There are things that I still feel shame for.”

She found getting aftercare help difficult because she didn't look like the average drug addict.

“People were surprised I wanted more help because I didn't look as bad off as other people,” she said.

The Simcoe resident eventually went to the Water Street Pharmacy and was given suboxone, a new methadone alternative, to help her become more functional.

Now, she is working as a supervisor in the health care industry. Although she doesn't think she will ever stop taking suboxone, she is on her way to recovery.

“It was like my whole life changed when I took it,” she said.

Brown said that methadone treatment is not the answer to the opioid crisis facing the province, it's just a piece of the puzzle.

“It's not the answer. It's not a cure, but it does help stabilize people,” he said. “When someone is addicted to opioids, they will do anything not to go into withdrawal.”

Brown, a pharmacist and businessman, said a good portion of methadone clinics are money making ventures, but they do help people stay on an even keel because they know they can come and get methadone daily.

Griffin said she estimates about 80 to 85 per cent of her patients who have drug dependencies may not have ended up there if they had access to psychiatric care and more mental health care in general.

“I think many people start off self-medicating and I feel like a lot of my job is listening to their concerns and trying to figure out triggers. I'm basically a psychiatrist with access to about four or five drugs,” she said.

Brad Kidder, a counsellor at GRCHC, said when people are trying to quit smoking, they often reach for a patch or nicotine gum to replace cigarettes, and that's what methadone is — a replacement for opioid drugs.

One is very socially acceptable, so I don't know why some people are against methadone,” he said.

He also said people become consumed with finding the drugs they need; it can take hours and they may spend more than $800 a day on the drug.

How do they get that money? They are breaking into people's homes, stealing things or selling their bodies. Methadone is harm reduction because the person knows they will get their drink at 10:30 a.m. every day and they can focus on eating, finding a place to live and working. That's the harm reduction — because of methadone, maybe those 10 break in or sex acts didn't happen,” he said.

National Addictions Awareness Week is hosting a mindset working shop at the Aboriginal Health Unit on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. as well as a smoking cessation seminar at the GRCHC from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The St. Leonard's Fairview Dr. location is hosting a paint party on Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon. Brantford Native Housing will have a prenatal information session on Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon and on Friday, they will host an infant and child moccasin making workshop.

The week will close on Friday with Soup in the Park from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Victoria Park.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/NAAWBrantford/.