September 2010

Wellness Tip:

To assist with an addiction, massages and acupuncture treatments have been known to help alleviate withdrawal symptoms. As well, you may want to increase your “dopamine” levels which is a natural “feel good” chemical. Almonds and bananas contain high amount of dopamine’s. It is imperative to always discuss your options with an expert.

Morrow, Crossdale & Associates Inc.
445 Apple Creek Blvd.
Suite 219
Markham, Ontario
www.morcro.ca

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E.G (Ted) Morrow:
ted.morrow@morcro.ca

Paul Crossdale:
paul.crossdale@morcro.ca

Sean Ross:
sean.ross@morcro.ca

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Overcoming Drug Dependency: A Prescription for Recovery

 

The growing epidemic of prescription drug addiction has become front pagenews. It’s an issue that affects people of almost all ages, backgrounds and incomelevels in virtually every North American community.  But despite all the attention, it’s often difficult to recognize when you or a loved one has a problem and even more so to take the first steps to seek help.

Recognizing and overcoming a prescription drug addiction can be difficult and overwhelming to both the person dependent on medication and those around them.

Recognizing and overcoming a prescription drug addiction can be difficult and overwhelming to both the person dependent on medication and those around them.  But, drug dependency isn’t something you or your loved ones have to face alone.  Today, more than ever, knowledge, resources and support services are available to help break the cycle of addiction and get on the road to a healthy recovery.

PRESCRIPTION POSITIVES

Unlike their illegal street0level counterparts, prescription drugs are generally safe and often very helpful when a doctor prescribes and monitors their use.  Doctors recommend drugs as part of physical and psychological health conditions.

While drugs can carry some risk for serious side-effects, doctors will only prescribe them when the potential benefits outweigh the dangers.  Taken as directed, medication can allow people battling chronic pain and other difficult conditions to lead normal, productive lives.  Drugs can also provide much needed short-term relief while counseling, physiotherapy and other non-pharmaceutical treatments, as well as the body’s natural healing, begin to take effect.

THE OTHER SIDE OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

Even with their medical benefits, some prescription drugs such as narcotics painkillers, sedatives and stimulants are highly addictive.  Drugs take away uncomfortable symptoms like pain or anxiety, and it can be hard to find other ways of dealing with these conditions if they still linger after a prescription ends.  Prescription medication can also be easily abused, either by taking a larger dosage than required, not following a recommended schedule, or using the drug for a reason other than the one prescribed.

When a person abuses prescription drugs, they dramatically increase their risk of developing serious, potentially deadly side effects. This is especially true for those taking more than one drug, since mixing any medications without a doctors’ approval can be extremely dangerous.

CONFRONTING  ADDICTION

Few things in life are more difficult than confronting a friend or loved one who you suspect might be busing drugs.  But as hard as it may be, it’s critical that you have the discussion as early as possible. Like any addiction, dependence on prescription drugs can become much worse over time. If not treated early, prescription drug abuse can eventually cost a loved one with an addiction his or her health, family, freedom or even life.

Openly share your suspicions and concerns with the person, and offer your full support towards recovery. Most people addicted to prescription drugs will react to this conversation by denying that they have a problem, or give reasons why they can’t go into a treatment program.

To handle this, come to the discussion prepared with specific examples of the behaviour that concerns you.  Also, do some research into options and be ready to address common concerns about cost, confidentiality and time.

THE RED FLAGS OF PRESCRIPTION DRUG ADDICTION

Since virtually anyone can become addicted to prescription drugs, it’s often very difficult to recognize and admit when you or a loved one has a drug problem.  Many prescription drug abusers will appear happy and successful while hiding a potentially deadly secret.  Here are some key signs that it may be time to seek help:

Continued Drug Use:

A strong sign of possible prescription drug addiction is a person who continues to take medication against a doctor’s orders after their medical condition has improved.  He or she may try to justify their need for more medication by complaining about vague symptoms or promising to stop after just one more refill

Increased Drug Use:

People who take prescription drugs excessively will start to build up a tolerance to them over time.  Because of this, they’ll likely start taking their medication in a larger dose or more frequently to get the same effect.

Mood Changes:

Those addicted to medication may have frequent or extreme mood swings, a significant change in their energy level or problems concentrating.

Social Withdrawal:

Addiction can become the main focus of life.  A person abusing prescription drugs may start to spend less time with their friends and family, or on activities they previously enjoyed.  He or she might also begin neglecting personal hygiene and noticeably change sleeping or eating habits.

Multiple Suppliers:

People dependent on prescription drugs will often go to great lengths to fuel the habit. They may visit multiple doctors and pharmacists to get prescriptions filled, or begin buying pills from questionable sources.  Alternatively, they could also start asking for or taking someone else’s medication.

A Sickly Appearance:

As prescription drug addiction becomes more serious, a person’s physical health will start to suffer.  They may gain or lose weight, appear tired, or have a constant cough and runny nose.  Their eyes may also appear droopy, red and dilated and their speech could become slurred.

Defensiveness:

Individuals trying to hide or deny a prescription drug habit will often become very defensive when questioned about anything related to their medication or health.  For example, they might blow up over a friend’s casual observation about the number of pills they’re taking.

Withdrawal Symptoms:

Those addicted to certain prescription drugs might go through physical withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the medication.  These might include anxiety, nausea, vomiting, goose bumps or dilated pupils, among others.  Or, someone with a drug habit may also continue to take medication, even when it causes them negative side-effects.

 

Help is Available

There are many effective treatment options available, though it may take some time to find the right fit for the situation.  Here are some of the options to begin with when you decide to seek help for yourself or a loved one:

Rehab Programs.

Detoxification may be necessary to break serious addictions.  These programs help those with addictions manage withdrawal symptoms while slowly weaning them off the drug.  There are a wide range of rehab programs and services available specifically for people with prescription drug dependence.

Behavioural Therapy.

In these programs, counsellors help individuals change their thoughts and behaviour helping them function without drugs, deal with cravings and avoid situations where they’re likely to relapse.  Therapy may also address underlying issues like depression or anxiety.

Peer Support Groups.

From formal 12-step programs, to online message boards, there are many ways to benefit from the support and experience of people facing similar challenges.  There are programs that meet regularly in almost every community and services are often available at no charge.

Books and On-Line Resources.

There are many excellent self-help materials available, both in print and online. These resources can be a great supplement to other treatment methods.  Be sure to discuss the situation with a doctors, counsellor or other training professional before attempting any self-help program.

“Changes in Quebec to Assisted Reproduction Coverage

As of  August 5, 2010 a new law came into effect in Quebec whereby assisted reproduction treatments are to be covered by the public health system for all women of childbearing age living in Quebec.  However, there will be a transition period for couples who have already received medical examinations and were awaiting in vitro fertilization.  Also, clients will be prioritized based on terms set out by physicians.  There will be no retroactive reimbursement for assisted reproduction services already received or for any medications dispensed before August 5th.

How will these new measures will affect your group plan

Prior to August 5, 2010, most group plans did not cover assisted reproduction treatments and, in most cases, the medications required for the treatments were excluded from drug insurance coverage.  In cases where the medications were included, the maximum reimbursable amount was generally low.

New reimbursement provisions apply to Quebec participants:

Laboratory Examinations

Most group plan reimburse for some expenses related to laboratory examinations prescribed for diagnostic purposes, which can be subject to contract provisions for each plan. The existing maximum amounts continue to apply and the expenses incurred for post diagnosis laboratory examinations– including all genetic diagnostic tests—continue to be excluded, in accordance with the Health Insurance Act, given that they are insured under the public plan.

Medications

According to the Act respecting prescription drug insurance, insurers must offer drug insurance coverage which is at least equivalent to the coverage offered by the public plan and the reimbursement of medications must not be limited.. Therefore, for Quebec participants, medications prescribed for assisted reproduction activities and which are included on the public plan’s general list or on the list of exceptional medications will now be reimbursed under their group plan, if the plan includes prescription drug coverage.  Exclusions and maximum amounts no longer apply and the medications are now included in the maximum annual contribution calculation.

You ask….will premiums be affected?

It is believed adding these medications to the public plan’s list of Medications will have a non-negligible impact on health insurance premiums for Quebec participants.

The high cost of these medications will lead to an increase in the number of participants who reach the maximum annual contribution amount ($963 as of July 1, 2010).  Once that amount has been reached, the group plan has to reimburse 100% of eligible medications.  What’s more the utilization rate of laboratory examinations could increase due to the higher number of participants receiving assisted reproduction treatments.  These two factors could lead to higher health insurance premiums for Quebec participants.

It is impossible to assess the impact, given that group plans offer different types of coverage and maximum amounts and that there are still too many unknown factors regarding how the new measures will be applied.  We will be following this matter in the coming months and will keep you informed of any developments.

SPECIAL  ANNOUNCEMENT

 

Morrow, Crossdale & Associates Inc.

are on the MOVE! Effective Friday October 1, 2010 our new address will be:

10 Station Lane

Unionville, ON

L3R 1R3

Stay tuned for more details and exciting news from MC&A!

 

Earning your trust and making a difference…”

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