POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 85 continued IN THE NEWS continued Opioid prescriptions on the decline in N.S., but still above national average Originally published on Nov. 22, 2017 by Jack Julian, CBC News • Number of seniors in Nova Scotia could be one reason behind high opioid prescriptions, says Dr. Robert Strang. • Nova Scotia doctors still prescribe more opioids than the national average, but the number of doses prescribed in the province has dropped by an average of 8.7 per cent since 2012. • Across Canada in 2016, the defined daily dose of prescription opioids — an assumed average dose per day, as defined by the World Health Organization — per 1,000 people was 6,246. In Nova Scotia, it was 7,068. • One in six seniors receives a prescription for a stronger opioid such as fentanyl, hydromorphone or oxycodone. • Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health said the Nova Scotia's relatively higher population of seniors could contribute to the province's higher-than-average opioid prescription rate, as well as the types of work Nova Scotians do. • "Traditionally, a lot of our jobs have been very physical, whether it be fishing or mining or those kind of things, so people wind up with a lot of disability injuries," said Dr. Robert Strang. 10 Nova Scotia doctors investigated for unusual opioid prescribing Originally published on Nov. 24, 2017 by Michael Tutton,The Canadian Press • Ten Nova Scotia doctors were being investigated for irregularities in their prescribing practices for highly addictive opioids, as a monitoring system documents over 5,000 patients receiving dosages higher than recommended levels. • The complaints were forwarded by the province's prescription monitoring system to the College of Physicians and Surgeons between January 1, 2015, and November 2016, and include prescribing problems with painkillers ranging from fentanyl to oxycodone. • Kevin Lynch, the manager of the monitoring program, said complaints are based both on reports from the public and a "risk scoring report" from a database that monitors doctors' prescribing practices. • Concerns about doctors' prescribing habits came into the public eye earlier in 2016 when a doctor in Bridgewater, N.S., was charged with drug trafficking. Police have alleged Dr. Sarah Dawn Jones provided 50,000 opioid pills to a hospital patient who never received them. • In addition, figures released to The Canadian Press indicate that for the first nine months of 2016 there were 5,248 patients in Nova Scotia receiving dosages considered to be above the "best practice" guidelines from the U.S.-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. • Benedikt Fischer, a senior scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, has said the dosages being documented by the Nova Scotia prescription monitoring agency are "very high." Statistics show that the number of doses of opioids such as hydromorphone, morphine, oxycodone and codeine declined between 4.9 and 20.2 per cent in Nova Scotia. (CBC)