National Newswatch

Federal health minister says national task force on chronic pain first step

Apr 3 2019 — Camille Bains, The Canadian Press — The federal health minister is forming a national task force to provide input on how to better prevent, treat and manage chronic pain, which affects one in five Canadians and is often addressed with opioids. Ginette Petitpas Taylor said in an interview Wednesday the task force will provide information on barriers that may prevent people suffering with persistent pain from receiving the […]

OD prevention sites possible at Canada’s prisons: Correctional Service

Mar 28 2019 — Camille Bains, The Canadian Press — VANCOUVER — Canada's prisoner service is considering opening overdose prevention sites as it expands a needle-exchange program that is now offered at a fifth institution for offenders who inject smuggled drugs. In a statement, the Correctional Service of Canada says it "is in the early stages of exploring overdose prevention sites as another harm-reduction measure option for inmates." […]

Study says B.C.’s housing policies mean drug users can be targeted for eviction

Mar 26 2019 — Camille Bains, The Canadian Press — VANCOUVER — British Columbia's housing policies are allowing landlords to evict drug users in Vancouver's rooming houses and there's little or no recourse for people to defend themselves against a practice that is often illegal and creates a risk of overdose, a new study says. The study by the BC Centre on Substance Use says low-income tenants living in private and non-profit single-room […]

B.C. judge orders RCMP to give Meng data on devices seized during arrest

Mar 22 2019 — Camille Bains, The Canadian Press — VANCOUVER — A judge has ordered the RCMP to provide copies of the content on seven electronic devices to an executive of Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies after they were seized at Vancouver's airport during her arrest. Justice Heather Holmes of the British Columbia Supreme Court said in an order issued after a brief hearing Friday that the RCMP must make copies […]

B.C. researcher says device mimics parent’s touch to help babies cope with pain

Mar 22 2019 — Camille Bains, The Canadian Press — VANCOUVER — Researchers in British Columbia have designed a "robot" that helps reduce pain for premature babies by simulating skin-to-skin contact with a parent who may not be available during around-the-clock procedures in a neonatal intensive care unit. Lead inventor and occupational therapist Liisa Holsti said the Calmer device is a rectangular platform that replaces a mattress inside […]

Trans woman hopes funding cut will send message to Vancouver rape crisis group

Mar 21 2019 — Camille Bains, The Canadian Press — VANCOUVER — A transgender woman whose case against Canada's oldest rape crisis centre was dismissed by the courts says she hopes the City of Vancouver's decision to refuse the shelter funding will help change policies. Kimberly Nixon, 61, filed a human rights complaint against Vancouver Rape Relief and Women's Shelter in 1995 after she was refused training to work as a volunteer peer counsellor […]

Ex-prisoner says no addiction help available as he feared return behind bars

Mar 20 2019 — Camille Bains, The Canadian Press — VANCOUVER — Memories of vomiting, diarrhea and unrelenting stomach pain as he withdrew from opioids in prison had Rob MacDonald repeatedly asking for addiction treatment before he left a maximum-security facility but despite dozens of formal complaints, he says he didn't get any help. "I was thinking, 'Wow, I can't believe I'm going out onto the street with this addiction,'" MacDonald […]

Facebook aims to reduce ‘anti-vaxxer’ messages, ads as part of ‘safety’ campaign

Mar 8 2019 — Camille Bains, The Canadian Press — VANCOUVER — Facebook should ban posts by so-called anti-vaxxers in order to protect children against measles and other contagious diseases, says a British Columbia mother who launched a petition urging parents to start home schooling if they're against immunization. Katie Clunn of Maple Ridge said Friday the social media giant must go beyond reducing its distribution of such content […]

Six-month implant newest option to treat addiction amid opioid crisis

Mar 3 2019 — Camille Bains, The Canadian Press — VANCOUVER — Canadians addicted to opioids may be eligible for an implant that provides an ongoing low dose of medication for six months, with the potential for treatment for up to a year when a new implant is placed in the opposite arm. The procedure involves trained physicians inserting match-stick sized rods under the skin of the upper arm, each containing the medication buprenorphine. Health Canada approved […]

B.C. doctor warns against deadly mushroom that looks similar to edible variety

Feb 26 2019 — Camille Bains, The Canadian Press — VANCOUVER — A critical care doctor is warning British Columbians about a "sinister" deadly mushroom and the importance of health-care providers recognizing signs of poisoning from a variety that is spreading along the Pacific coast. Dr. Omar Ahmad, head of critical care and emergency medicine for Island Health, said the so-called death cap mushroom can easily be mistaken for edible varieties […]

Groups want provinces to have consistent policies on limiting HIV prosecutions

Feb 4 2019 — Camille Bains, The Canadian Press — VANCOUVER — Advocacy groups are calling on provinces to follow the Justice Department's directive to stop unjustly prosecuting HIV-positive people for not disclosing their status if there is no chance they could transmit the virus to their sexual partners. The directive to limit prosecutions involving people who are on HIV treatment was issued in December but applies only to federal […]

First responders gather in B.C. to call for end to stigma in jobs full of trauma

Jan 31 2019 — Camille Bains, The Canadian Press — VANCOUVER — Eighteen years as a firefighter had exposed Greg Gauthier to endless trauma but a call involving a tour bus hitting a family triggered his descent into mental illness as intrusive thoughts and sleepless nights became his daily existence. Gauthier, 48, could no longer function at work but the stigma of asking for help in a job where chaos is […]