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Affecting change in addiction medicine

Posted on :  September 18th, 2018  |  By :  Robby Breadner


Dr. Mike Franklyn ~ Addiction physician, Health Sciences North, Sudbury.

Dr. Michael Franklyn wears many hats in the field of medicine. As a family doctor in Sudbury for almost 25 years, Dr. Franklyn recalls fearing for the life of a female patient in 2002; she was using methadone and forced to travel weekly to Toronto for care. With only one addiction specialist in Sudbury at the time, the wait list for local treatment was about two years. “Then, I had no background in addiction medicine. But out of my complete frustration with the inability to get help for her in the north, I had to go learn about addiction care and it has since become a huge part of my life and my practice,” he said.

As a family doctor and Associate Professor at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM), Dr. Franklyn says about 70 per cent of his time is now focused specifically on addiction medicine. While his home base is in Sudbury, Dr. Franklyn is one of several doctors who fly into remote northwestern Ontario First Nations to treat patients in their home communities, where no other treatment is offered. He also uses OTN to service 13 remote communities in northwestern Ontario.

In Sudbury, Dr. Franklyn is Medical Director of the local Rapid Access Addictions Medicine (RAAM) Clinic, one of seven in Ontario. As the only clinic of its kind in the north, Dr. Franklyn notes it as a “very successful model” where patients with any type of addiction can be seen by an addiction expert within 48 hours. The clinic, which opened in December 2015, was originally funded as a provincial pilot program to offer individuals dealing with addictions earl and assertive treatment, while alleviating burdens on other points of care.

Franklyn noted the financial benefits (of treating addictions) to the province’s health-care system. Treating patients at the RAAM Clinic has demonstrated reduction in their use of local ambulance services, emergency room visits, detox and in-patient admissions. “These are all very expensive interventions,” he said. “By addressing the underlying cause of addition, we dramatically reduce utilization of the system, and are actually doing something that is likely to help the patient.”

According to statistics from the Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse, addiction is a health issue that impacts millions of Canadians. It causes harm to individuals, families and communities. Conservative estimates (from the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey) found that 4.4 per cent of Canadians met the criteria for a substance-use disorder. Dr. Franklyn adds that there are almost 50,000 people in the province on methadone, and that that only one in three people who are dependent on opiates are seeking help. “The situation is fundamentally worse and more complex than it was just two years ago,” he said.

In what Franklyn calls the current “opiate crisis,” it’s important now more than ever to jump in with both feet. While working in remote fly-in northern First Nations communities his team will spend an entire week with a group of patients addressing their addictions. People lives are literally transformed in the week that starts their recovery journey.

For Dr. Franklyn and his colleagues, seeing the impact they have on people’s lives is the most rewarding aspect of the work. “I love everything I do…but there’s too much to do,” he said.

When asked what keeps him going back to work each day, Dr. Franklyn says it’s the triumph. “There are times where this field of medicine is incredibly frustrating, but just seeing the successes is what keeps you going.”

Originally published on the Ontario Medical Association’s Spotlight on Health.


What it’s like being a methadone doctor

Posted on :  December 19th, 2017  |  By :  Robby Breadner
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Written by Dr. John Crosby – November 28, 2017 for canadianhealthcarenetwork.ca

I recently had lunch with Dr. Andrew Worster, an old friend from my emergency days 25 years ago. He works at an opioid addiction clinic in Cambridge, Ont., and still does ER shifts at Hamilton General Hospital. He works in the ER one or two eight-10-hour shifts per week but doesn’t do night shifts any more so he enjoys the two jobs. He has been practising for 26 years and also runs a non-profit corporation called BEEM — Best Evidence in Emergency Medicine — which conducts evidence-based emergency medicine courses for emergency doctors worldwide.

Andrew works in the addiction clinic on Monday morning and all day Wednesday. It is a private business and they help patients get healthcare cards He says that 70% of the patients are functioning, with jobs and families.

Many patients start with chronic pain and about 50% work at physically demanding jobs, hence, they use opioids to get through the day’s work as their bodies are wearing out on the job. They start small and gradually require higher and higher doses for relief.

Andrew said he feels opioids are sometimes appropriate for short-term severe pain but not for non-cancer chronic pain.

Andrew noted that doctors and the patients have to accept that in life there will be pain. In the ER, he often gets patients who tell him that their GP has done nothing for their back pain. For ER patients with severe, debilitating pain, he sometimes uses ketamine (15mg I.V. over 15 minutes) to break the cycle of pain and spasm but does not prescribe opioids upon discharge… Click here to read the entire article.


Hamilton music community hosts overdose training as opioid crisis grips city

Posted on :  November 27th, 2017  |  By :  Robby Breadner
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Photo credit: Google.

Event happened at This Ain’t Hollywood in downtown Hamilton tonight.

“Ace Piva knows the dangers of opioid addiction all too well.

He’s seen it up close — both as a tour manager across Canada, and as an addictions counsellor in Hamilton.

Now, as overdoses and deaths due to opioid use continue to mount across the city, Piva has launched an addiction and recovery nonprofit organization specifically for the music industry. It’s called Over the Bridge — a nod to the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ breakout hit Under the Bridge, which was written about addiction, loneliness and dependency.

Tonight, Piva is hosting a naloxone training and overdose prevention awareness event at This Ain’t Hollywood, in an effort to save lives in an industry where the party rarely stops…”

By Adam Carter, CBC News – Read full story on CBC website, here.


CATC – partnering to improve lives of patients

Posted on :  October 15th, 2017  |  By :  Robby Breadner

CATC – partnering to improve lives of patients.

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Click the video or here to view.


Recovery Day to bring awareness, support and hope

Posted on :  October 2nd, 2017  |  By :  Robby Breadner

Tara Edeh from the Ontario Addiction Treatment Centres and founder of Recovery Day, Annie McCullough shed light on Recovery Day dedicated to help out people coming out of any kind of addictions. – video courtesy of BT Breakfast Television.

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Toronto police issue safety alert after four suspected fentanyl deaths

Posted on :  July 31st, 2017  |  By :  Robby Breadner

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Toronto police say there have been four deaths due to fentanyl and 20 incidents of fentanyl overdose since Thursday [within three days].

“Toronto police have issued a public safety alert after four deaths likely caused by fentanyl overdose in the past three days in downtown Toronto.

Police said there have been four fatalities and 20 overdose incidents since Thursday.

The most recent incident was on Saturday when a woman was found dead in a stairwell near Queen St. E and Trefann St.

A 27-year-old man died on Thursday in the area of Queen St. W. and Bathurst St., where he allegedly overdosed on heroin laced with fentanyl, a powerful opioid that’s about 50 times stronger than heroin…” — excerpt from thestar.com, by Bryann Aguilar, Alanna Rizza. July 29, 2017.

Read the full article, here.

Mayor John Tory comments on “tragedy”.


A highly successful treatment for opioid addiction. But stigma is holding it back.

Posted on :  July 26th, 2017  |  By :  Robby Breadner

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“Medication-assisted treatment is often called the gold standard of addiction care. But much of the country has resisted it.

If you ask Jordan Hansen why he changed his mind on medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction, this is the bottom line.

Several years ago, Hansen was against the form of treatment. If you asked him back then what he thought about it, he would have told you that it’s ineffective — and even harmful — for drug users. Like other critics, to Hansen, medication-assisted treatment was nothing more than substituting one drug (say, heroin) with another (methadone).”  – Updated by German Lopez, Vox.com

Read the full article here on website: Vox…


Common Questions on Methadone Treatment Results

Posted on :  July 10th, 2017  |  By :  towardsrecovery

There are a variety of methadone treatment success stories that you can find all around. However, did you know that there are many factors that go into establishing successful methadone treatment results? This is perhaps the reason why there are many questions surrounding this question. Let’s take a look at some of them.

What is Methadone?

In the streets, you may hear it go by the names meth or juice. This particular drug belongs to the opioid family and has been designed for use with various opioid addictions like those of oxycodone, fentanyl, hydromorphone, and heroin.

Designed? Yes, because methadone is a synthetic opioid so it is made in the laboratory from chemicals. It was initially developed and used in World War II in Germany for pain relief. Its use in addiction treatment was first seen during the 1960s.

Canadian regulations on the prescription of methadone and its uses for treatment have remained widely restrictive. However, in the 1990s there was a need to address the harm of drugs so changes were made for those who wanted to avail of the methadone treatment.

It is vital to point out that it is not a cure, but a treatment. This means that opioid addicts require medical and social support to achieve stabilization in their lives. Staying in treatments longer is the only way to get sustainable and significant results.

Who are Methadone Users?

The majority of those classified as methadone users are those suffering from opioid addiction. Some of its users though are not addicts, but have issues with severe chronic pain or pain that is associated with terminal illnesses.

It is not impossible for methadone to be used in the form of street drugs, but most of the time it is for the prevention of withdrawal symptoms due to opioid dependency. For pregnant women, the use of methadone is often viewed as a protection of the fetus. This is because withdrawal from opioid is highly associated with increased miscarriage or even premature births. The combination of medical care and methadone maintenance will improve the chances of delivering a healthy baby without any known long-term effects.

The number of people receiving treatment in Ontario alone has risen from 6,000 to 38,000 from 2000 up until 2012.

How Long is its Effect?

On the average, an opioid dependent can expect at least 24 hours of being free from withdrawal symptoms using a single methadone dose. This is quite acceptable when you consider that using heroin or short-acting opioids to keep away the same withdrawal symptoms requires anywhere from 3 to 4 doses per day.

The daily treatments may go indefinitely, but, should a decision to stop the treatment be arrived at by the doctor and the user, gradual tapering down of doses will be done. This can extend anywhere from weeks to months until such time that the process of withdrawal has been eased.

It is essential to understand that abrupt stoppage of methadone treatment will have adverse effects with withdrawal symptoms being manifested in as short as a day.

Is it Dangerous and Addictive?

There are always accompanying dangers when taking drugs like methadone. However, if it is taken as it is prescribed, then it is considered safe and will not damage any internal organs or brain processes even with prolonged used. This is why the supervision of a medical professional is a must when administering the treatment. It is for this reason as well that careful monitoring and control is exercised during treatment.

As far as addiction goes, modern definition dictates that we look at several factors in the assessment. There is tolerance, need for increased amounts, physical dependence, withdrawal symptoms, compulsive usage, and continued use despite negative consequences.

When you take these factors into account, methadone treatment does not meet the full definition of addiction. This is of course looking at the treatment as it is administered by a qualified professional or treatment center.

We also have to take notice that methadone treatment is offered as a form of medical treatment and only people who are opioid addicts are prescribed it. Methadone delivers a safe alternative to curb the dangerous and desperate routines of their addiction. With the goal of freeing them up from their compulsions and focusing on improved lives.

You can contact Towards Recovery Clinics to find out more about methadone treatment results and other holistic solutions to addiction.


Types of Group Activities Help Addiction Treatment

Posted on :  July 8th, 2017  |  By :  towardsrecovery

Regardless whether you are undergoing treatment or in recovery for drug addiction, it is important to ensure that the possibilities of relapse are addressed. Would you simply accept the notion that relapse is a normal part of the road to recovery? For those who are truly serious in getting rid of their addiction, this is not the view to take. So how do you overcome this? One of the most effective ways is to engage in fun and meaningful addiction treatment group activities. These are designed to help keep the withdrawal symptoms at bay. What are the types of group of activities?

Motivational Therapy

This group activity helps addicts to gather motivational skills and techniques. It delivers motivational support that is needed by addicts to stay on the treatment or the road to recovery. The reality is that many addicts face difficulty in stopping their addiction because they are not motivated to commit to the change. This type of group activity changes this perception and way of thinking.

Educational Therapy

The therapy includes educating addicts not only about the drugs, but also about treatment, withdrawal symptoms, and more importantly, the options that are available to them. This is why it should be an integral part of any drug addiction treatment. The truth is that many addicts are not even aware of what they have gotten themselves into, or even the options for treatment that they can benefit from. This therapy gives them a chance to ask questions.

Group Yoga

These classes help addicts to focus and is an excellent way to enhance commitment to the drug addiction treatment. Yoga has been linked to stress reduction, improved blood circulation, and reduction of withdrawal symptoms. All of these are something that can benefit addicts.

Nature Walks

Have you ever gone on a nature walk? Then you will know that it has a calming and relaxing effect. It is not only a form of exercise, but also a way to meditate. Hiking and nature walks are not standard in addiction treatment programs because of the location or setting of the rehabilitation center. However, it can be modified to compensate for these stumbling blocks.

Art Classes

Did you know that this is a recognized form of holistic therapy? Group art classes assist addicts in not only learning about themselves, but also expressing what they feel. By keeping the hands busy, addicts overcome their restlessness and fidgeting as a result of the calming effects that the the activity brings. It also allows addicts to deal with their innermost feelings.

Sharing activities

This can be quite difficult for some addicts. But, it will obviously help them to open up about their struggles. When incorporated  as one of the addiction treatment group activities, it helps addicts feel that they are not alone. This is an extremely powerful feeling to have, which is why it is included into almost all treatment programs.

Meditation and Relaxation

Is there any benefit in helping drug addicts meditate and relax? If you don’t know, these are proven activities that help people cope with stress and addiction. These are practiced around the world to help addicts achieve a better life. Part of this is the guided visualization wherein the addict is assisted in seeing their future where they are no longer dependent on drugs. Just because it is done in a group setting does not mean that it has to be social.

Relapse Prevention Therapy (RPT)

What is RPT? This is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that is designed to limit the possibility of relapse. It helps addicts to cope and anticipate circumstances that can lead to a relapse. By having a strategy on how to deal with these circumstances, the situations become less risky.

A relapse prevention plan can include addiction treatment group activities because it curbs some feelings that can function as triggers. Some of the group activities help addicts to be completely aware of their feelings so they are able to anticipate the resulting relapse and do corrective measures.

If you want to know more about addiction treatment group activities for various types of addictions, call Towards Recovery Clinics today.


The Best Practices for Treatment of Addiction

Posted on :  July 7th, 2017  |  By :  towardsrecovery

Whether we accept it or not, addiction is here and it presents a pressing problem that cannot be neglected. How can we address the millions of people suffering from various forms of addiction around the world? Uncovering the proper treatment is truly a concern that must be taken seriously by every public health organization. Should we even be debating what method will work best, or should we look into how each method can help addicts individually?

Initially Concerns

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) there were approximately 15.3 million people facing drug abuse problems in 2010. In the United States alone, as much as 10% of its citizens are dealing with at least one form of addiction. This is why addiction treatment is such a major concern for its public health department.

With so many recent advances in treatment technologies and the numerous studies that accompany it, there should be little difficulty in identifying what treatment works. How do we know which treatment would work based on the unique condition of the addict? There are a couple that are used today.

Evidenced-Based

These treatment practices are supported by evidences. These are typically the result of successful treatment outcomes with the one that has produced the most outstanding results in terms of treatment of addiction is the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). The evidences are the product of numerous research works that have focused on implementing the best treatment methods possible. High quality treatment centers have experts in ensuring that these treatments are applied correctly to get the desired results.

Individualized Treatment

The protocols and approaches for this type of treatment method have been proven successful. These tailor-fitted solutions to the individual needs of addicts are done in a way to reduce its cost by allowing addicts to receive standardized treatments based on a set schedule. This is seen as a way to give each addict an equal chance at recovery. It takes into account the unique family, psychological, work, and social conditions that each addict faces. How can the individual needs be identified? These are normally uncovered during the initial clinical consultation and simply adjusted accordingly as the personal treatment progresses. Rehabilitation centers that implement this type of treatment stretches it to ensure that it includes recovery maintenance.

One-on-One Psychotherapy

This type of treatment is seen to improve the chances of success of residential treatment methods. Trained clinicians rely on at least two psychotherapy sessions each week to get the desired results. As research works have shown the inclusion of psychotherapy in the treatment process allows for a supportive relationship that assists in working through the causes of the addiction. As a safe haven, the addict can reveal the original causes of the addiction including circumstances that have contributed to its continuation. The information can lead to a successful recovery by the addict.

The Stages of Change

The goal of this model is to understand and predict the potential changes in therapy. Developed by Dr. James Prochaska, it establishes that changes can occur in a predictable way and understanding the stages that it goes through will bring about an effective treatment. The process of the treatment will be based on the analysis and overcoming of obstacles to the change.

Integrated, Holistic Treatment

As you have already seen, there are many varied approaches on implementing addiction treatments. Divergent stages and methods including techniques can widely vary. The bottom line is that these treatments should be handle by competent staff, include caring for the needs of the addict, and individualizing the approaches of the treatment.

These addiction treatment best practices will result in an effective recovery and rehabilitation procedure. Combine these with research-based approaches and you will be able to understand the causes of the addiction that will pave the way to identifying the proper course of treatment.

Rehabilitation centers are therefore tasked to work as a team in identifying the underlying causes of addiction as well as collaborate in planning out the most effective treatment plan for the addict. Monitoring and adjustment of the plan should also be included in the treatment process to ensure high quality individualized care.

Towards Recovery Clinics can help with individualized addiction treatment to help in rebuilding the lives and careers of those affected. Get in touch with them today.




Who We Serve ?

  • Individuals using/abusing street narcotics (e.g. heroin).
  • Patients abusing prescription narcotics(i.e., Codeine, Talwin, Percocet/Percodan, Dilaudid, Morphine or Demerol, et cetera).
  • Individuals displaying any of the following behaviours: Compulsive drug use or drug seeking/craving.
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