Why I Am So Ashamed of Canada

By Ann Marie Gaudon, PNN Columnist

As far as countries go, I have lived almost the entirety of my life believing that Canada had a fairly good track record for upholding human rights. Of course, we’re far from perfect, but when I looked around the world I still felt grateful for where I am.

I no longer feel this way. Now I feel a deep shame for Canada and I believe that history will show this era with a rather large black mark etched in its pages.

Unfortunately for all of us, politicians and bureaucrats do not have a great history of getting things right. And they’ve really blown it this time.

We’ve got a real problem. Canadians are dying like never before from a tainted illicit drug supply. These political players never cared about people overdosing until they began dying en masse.

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The government’s answer in the past was to round them up and put them in jail. Yes, punish them for being impoverished, mentally ill, homeless, and victims of sexual and physical violence. Punish them because they were neglected, abused or abandoned and consequently suffer from addictions trying to cope with their miserable lot in life.

Now they are dying from drug overdoses – far too many and far too quickly. The government’s answer: Let’s lock up and throw away the key to the prescription medication cabinet!

Instead of solving one deadly drug problem, now we have two.

Logic would dictate to policy makers that to solve the overdose problem, one should go straight to other countries such as Portugal that have done a good job of saving lives. Yet what have they done in Canada? They’ve jumped on the frenzied, anti-opiate, lunatic fringe bandwagon. Instead of listening to progressive professionals and those suffering from addiction, they are hell-bent on blaming pain patients and their medications.

Has this helped? Well, as prescriptions continue to decrease, and pain patients suffer more and sometimes die, overdose deaths continue to soar.

I invite you to join me in my personal attempt to spread awareness about the worsening plight of the severely pained in Canada. It isn’t a pretty story, but it’s one that has to be told.

I’ve created four informative videos and uploaded them to YouTube. My personal story is the first video and also includes the state of chronic pain in Canada in 2018. In the second video, I interview my friend Beth who had unethical medical treatment forced upon her. It is incredulous what the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPSO) has done to Beth – and they accept responsibility for nothing at all.

Beth tells her story below:

Next up is Dan, who has been a chronic pain patient stable on pain medications for over 20 years. He is no longer stable. The CPSO terrified his doctor, who in turn forced Dan to decrease his medications. Dan is not doing well as a result.

Finally, Paul explains how he organized a town hall meeting between framers of the 2017 Canadian opioid guidelines, a representative of the CPSO and a few others. These folks were to be “silent attendees” and listen to severe chronic pain patients tell them how enforcing the new guidelines has negatively impacted their health and lives. The whole idea was admirable, but Paul ultimately learned the hard way that the lives of severely pained patients don’t seem to matter at all to the people who decided these issues for us.

So now you have an idea of why I am so ashamed of Canada. I would love it if you would listen to these stories and spread them far and wide. People need to know what’s going on here. I would also appreciate your comments. Let’s stick together, there’s always strength in numbers.

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Ann Marie Gaudon is a registered social worker and psychotherapist in the Waterloo region of Ontario, Canada with a specialty in chronic pain management.  She has been a chronic pain patient for 33 years and works part-time as her health allows. For more information about Ann Marie's counseling services, visit her website.

The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of Pain News Network.