A worsening problem with no solution in sight – prescription drug abuse

By Chris Gregory
Feb. 11, 2014

From her bench in the courtroom, Judge Nancy Orr has seen the problem of prescription drug abuse and addictions explode on P.E.I.
It has become a major problem and it is continuing to grow, she said.
“It’s a horrendous problem. If you’d have told me three years ago that we had a problem with prescription drugs on P.E.I., I would’ve laughed and said where are you getting that from,” she said.
Not only is addiction a severe problem, but people are getting their hands on faulty prescriptions and ones that were prescribed to others, she said.
“Doctors are writing prescriptions and it’s not always the person whose name is on the prescription who is using the prescription.
“People are obtaining prescriptions and selling them, trading them, selling them on the street,” she said.
Richard Collins is the deputy police chief in Charlottetown. There are a couple factors involved, he said.
In most cases, people who are addicted went through a phase where they took and saw the prescription pills as a recreation. Combine this with the stresses of everyday life and it usually doesn’t make for a good result, he said.
More and more, patients are getting prescriptions and using the pills as a crutch to deal with their issues, he said.
“There are more people on medication now then ever and through no fault of their own, they become addicted.”
Right now, the Island isn’t in a position to help those who need it, Orr said.
“We don’t have nearly enough resources in this province.”
Collins said there is more to it than just enforcing the law. Doctors need to have the right judgment when giving out prescriptions.
“It seems the doctors are more in tune with the issue now.”
Everyone needs to be educated about the problems of prescription drug abuse. This isn’t something that’s just going to go away on its own, it will take a collective effort, he said.
“Everyone has their role they need to play.”