Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

NDP failing OxyContin addicts: opposition

Tories demand immediate action

  • Print

The Selinger government came under fire for the second day in a row Wednesday for its handling of treatment services for people addicted to the prescription painkiller OxyContin.

Tories and Liberals blasted the NDP for the resignation of Dr. Lindy Lee as the director of the addiction unit at Health Sciences Centre.

Lee told the Free Press she quit because she "couldn't keep plugging the holes" given growing demand for opiate-addiction services and lack of support from health officials.

Conservative Leader Hugh McFadyen said Premier Greg Selinger should get directly involved and ask Lee what has to be done to fix the situation -- one that's compounded by criminals robbing pharmacies of OxyContin at gunpoint.

"It's a matter of having her outline what the requirements are on an urgent basis and what the requirements are on a longer-term basis," McFadyen said. "I don't think she's asked for a blank cheque at any step along the way. She's asked for a commitment to immediate resources and she was told she would have to wait two years."

Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard said Lee's resignation is a sign the government has misjudged the extent of OxyContin abuse. He said people are dying -- one estimate is about 25 people over the past few years -- while they wait to get into a treatment program.

"If there's not a quick response now, more people are going to die."

Gerrard said Healthy Living Minister Jim Rondeau, whose file includes drug treatment programs, should resign.

"Mr. Rondeau has been hopeless," Gerrard said. "Hopelessly inadequate."

Rondeau repeated Wednesday most of what he said the day before: The province plans to train up to 12 doctors to prescribe methadone to treat OxyContin addicts. Only two or three doctors do it now.

"As much as I like to create methadone treatment in the community, we have to train the staff to make sure they do it, we have to have the sites licensed and do it appropriately, or I wouldn't be doing my job," the minister said. "We're working with the feds to see if we can move it forward faster."

Rondeau would not comment directly on the reasons behind Lee's resignation, other to say the province adjusts funding to meet the demands of the entire addictions-treatment system.

"I have lots of positive feelings about her commitment and her treatment of patients," he said of Lee. "She did a good job."

He also said he will meet with the province's pharmacies and pharmaceutical representatives to look at ways to prevent robberies and break-ins by thieves looking for OxyContin.

Police said Wednesday that officers are looking for a man armed with a handgun who robbed the Ebbeling Pharmacy on Watt Street and the Munroe Pharmacy on London Street the day before.

bruce.owen@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 27, 2010 A7

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Jets defencemen ready to face adversity

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A Great Horned Owl that was caught up in some soccer nets in Shamrock Park in Southdale on November 16th was rehabilitated and returned to the the city park behind Shamrock School and released this afternoon. Sequence of the release. December 4, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • Someone or thing is taking advantage of the inactivity at Kapyong Barracks,hundreds of Canada Geese-See Joe Bryksa’s goose a day for 30 days challenge- Day 15- May 22, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What's your take on the Jets so far this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google