Today, doctors' offices are inundated with people who have been harmed more than helped by these drugs. Thousands more are dead. And yet the marketing continues, with pain specialists and advocacy groups opposing moves to curtail opioid prescription, their efforts financed by the very companies that make these drugs.
Monday's announcement by federal health minister Leona Aglukkaq that she will not interfere with the approval of generic OxyContin is just the latest development in what has become a major public health crisis. When the legal and regulatory framework results in a situation in which more than a dozen Canadians die each week because of an accidental prescription drug overdose, that framework needs to be changed.