For eight years, Catherine McCann ran a program that monitored medications prone to abuse and misuse.

Opioids are killing people – aren’t they intended to relieve suffering?

Overdoses from opioids, a class of painkillers, are claiming the lives of thousands of Canadians from all walks of life.

Opioid addiction is rampant. An influx of illicit fentanyl has added to the challenges of prescribed opioids, including oxycodone, fentanyl and morphine.

And it seems to be getting worse. In 2017, there were at least 3,987 opioid-related deaths in Canada. Ninety-two per cent of those deaths were accidental. Seventy-two per cent of deaths involved fentanyl or a fentanyl analogue, compared to 55 per cent in 2016.

How did we get to the point where a drug that was intended to relieve pain has created a world of death and suffering? And how can we get back on track?

Join the Philosophers’ Café Wednesday, Feb. 13, 7-8 p.m. at Berwick by the Sea’s Tyee Lounge as Catherine McCann explores the roots of the opioid crisis and consider possible paths forward.

McCann, BScPharm, MBA, is a pharmacist and pharmacy owner of the Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy in Comox with over 30 years of pharmacy experience. Relevant to this topic, Catherine spent eight years managing the Physicians Prescribing Practices program at the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta. A large component of that program was the monitoring of medications prone to abuse and misuse. Her work included collaboration with many organizations concerned with addiction issues.

Once a month a speaker will introduce a theme to the Café, and then all who attend can join in respectful, non-partisan conversation, or just sit back and listen. You are welcome to propose topics and introduce them at future Cafés. Themes should be of broad interest and national significance, and have an element of controversy to them.

As with each Café, Catherine McCann will have just 10 minutes to introduce the topic, and then the floor is open for 50 minutes of moderated discussion.

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