If someone told you they had a "chronic, relapsing brain disease that was fatal if untreated," how would you react?
But when you found out that same chronic disease was addiction - would you feel the same way?
Canadians are the second largest consumers of prescription opioids worldwide and an estimated 200,000 Canadians are addicted to prescription pain killers. Yet given the lack of surveillance data along with the stigma surrounding addiction, it's a challenge to accurately track the disease. Despite this, patients are still faced with a significant stigma.
According to a recent national poll conducted by Leger Marketing, more than one in four Canadians believe opioid addiction is a voluntary lifestyle choice and another quarter admit they would think less of a friend, relative, or colleague if they knew they were an addict.
Almost half of Canadians believe people with opioid addiction would rather destroy relationships with family and friends than get help.
Issues like the stigma of addiction and long wait times for physician can make accessing treatment very challenging for patients, but its importance along with psychosocial support like counseling, cannot be overstated.
Your doctor is a resource for any questions or concerns about opioids or opioid addiction.