Hilary Drake is a medical student in the Class of 2021 at the University of British Columbia
On my first day in a new family practice, my preceptor asked me to take a history from a patient who had listed their “reason for visit” as a sore throat. I stood in the hallway and made a mental checklist of questions to ask and observations to make. Have they had any sick contacts? Does their voice sound hoarse?
When I opened the door and asked them if they could tell me what brought them in today, they responded as expected: “My throat is sore.” When I asked what they thought might be causing the pain, they unwrapped a scarf from their neck and stated, “I think it’s because the noose didn’t work.” At that point they started crying.
They had tried to come in before. They had recognized their pain and wanted to reach out for help, but they were unable to out of fear that their physician would not believe the pain if they could not see it.
That was the day that I learned how stigma can kill someone. ...continue reading
Abhishek Gupta is a research and medical sub-intern at CAMH who graduated from the Windsor University School of Medicine
The controversial debate over cannabis legalization has concluded on an official level, legally placing the drug in the hands of the Canadian public. Very soon, anyone over the age of 19 will be able to walk into a store and obtain it for personal consumption.
For mental health professionals, some aspects of this decriminalization effort are appealing. Conventional marijuana is often laced with far more dangerous substances leading to highly dangerous health outcomes. Furthermore, individuals with substance abuse issues are more likely to seek professional help when the consequences of drug possession are milder. Much like needle exchange sites, this move towards legalization provides consumers with a safer alternative for addressing their cravings for cannabis. ...continue reading
Physicians from many specialties may care for inpatients with opioid use disorder. An acute hospital admission is an opportunity to engage with patients who have this common, chronic disorder, discuss addiction treatment and possibly affect the course of their illness. In this podcast, Dr. Joseph Donroe, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Yale School of Medicine, discusses the best approach to specific problems that may arise when a patient with chronic opioid use disorder is hospitalized for another reason. Potential problems include withdrawal symptoms and managing acute pain.
Dr. Donroe co-authored a review article published in the CMAJ (subscription required).
Carolyn Shimmin is a Knowledge Translation Coordinator with the George and Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation and EvidenceNetwork.ca
From Chaucer to Shakespeare, women’s consumption of alcohol and other drugs has been historically written about and portrayed as an absolute affront to the dictates of socially-constructed ideals around “respectable femininity.” Girls and women living with substance issues are often falsely perceived as hypersexual and sexually promiscuous (i.e. as “sluts” and “loose”). Beneath the rhetoric that “good girls don’t imbibe” lies a dangerously entrenched stigma within our society that ― combined with the fact that two out of three Canadians don’t understand sexual consent as well as the codification of certain rape myths in law ― means the bodies of certain girls and women living with substance use problems become spaces where sexual violence can occur with impunity. ...continue reading