Taking medication not prescribed to you by a doctor can cause serious harm – even death!
Annapolis Valley, NS -- Annapolis Valley Health is issuing warnings against taking medications that aren’t prescribed after recent incidents involving Methadone. The district health authority warns that some individuals are taking medication risks and paying with their lives.
“Methadone is safe, when taken by the individual it was intended for,” says Dr. Bob Mullan, a family doctor working under special license with the Opioid Replacement Treatment Program run by Annapolis Valley Health. “It takes us a considerable effort to stabilize an individual on a safe dose to maintain their treatment. It can take weeks to get these levels right. Taking this drug without medical supervision, even in a small amount, can cause serious harm and even death.”
All doctors working at Annapolis Valley Health’s clinics have special training in methadone maintenance and abide by provincial standards of the Nova Scotia College of Physicians and Surgeons as well as the Nova Scotia College of Pharmacists. The program works with local pharmacists to ensure that all participants have witnessed ingestion of at least two of their prescriptions weekly. Other safe guards to prevent diversion of methadone include regular urine and blood screenings at the clinic.
Dr. Achal Mishra is a new AVH psychiatrist with speciality in mental health and addiction. He explains why methadone, in particular, is so dangerous, “Methadone is a slow and long acting medication, and its effects build up over time. Thus, if taken in large amounts at short intervals it can easily lead to an overdose.” He adds that even a relatively small amount can lead to an unintentional overdose. “The quantity of Methadone in the body builds up over three to five days after starting it. If not carefully monitored, a dose that may not even seem sufficient on day one or two can prove toxic a couple of days later.”
If individuals are experiencing withdrawal or considering taking methadone that was not prescribed to them for any reason, they are encouraged to contact Annapolis Valley Health Mental Health and Addictions Services at (902) 679-2392 or(902) 825-6828. For more information on Annapolis Valley Health Mental Health and Addiction Services, visit www.gethelpnow.ca. We offer online resources and community based programs for individuals struggling with addiction and those who are affected by addiction, such as families, friends and significant others.
AVH Public Relations