Make Suboxone More Accessible

Make Suboxone More Accessible

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Rachel Stansens started this petition to Provincial Government and

    I am taking action in regards to making suboxone more accessible for not only my loved ones, but the many clients I work with in my job as an Overdose Prevention Support Worker in Toronto. Suboxone is a medication that many of my clients at work want to be on as well as it prevents people from getting sick from withdrawal, and ensures that they won’t have to worry about that very real pain. 
 
     I am taking action because of the nightmare process in trying to get people coverage for suboxone. It is not a cheap medication and people are spending hundreds of dollars monthly for it; a very unaffordable sum for too many people in need. In my opinion this is a medication that is life-saving especially given the current drug crisis that we are facing in our country. If suboxone coverage was more accessible, then more people would be on it, I can guarantee that. With more people on suboxone, the risk of overdoses goes down because the fear of withdrawal is taken away from people. They can then use more safely, or in the case of my partner who is now abstinence-based, it ensures that he can continue to refrain from using illicit and toxic drugs while he slowly comes down on his suboxone dosage.

     He has been trying for months to get onto the Trillium Drug Benefit, which many clients at my work are also trying to get on, and has been put through the ringer being told to re-submit forms he has filled out several times. After months of this he was given a letter of approval only to be told when he went to get his weekly suboxone that he wasn’t actually covered and needs to fill out further forms. On top of this, he now needs to get his prescriptions re-written which were all initially written in BC while he was in treatment. All of this red tape and dancing around has made him feel swept under the rug and very depressed. The reality of this is that so many people are also going through this same thing, and it is leading to the decline in mental health for so many people which contributes to the risk of relapse and/or overdose.

     If we are going to address the opioid crisis in a meaningful way then we must start to recognize that People Who Use Drugs, whether actively or who are in recovery, are human beings. To have so much red tape put in the way of obtaining a life-saving medication is contributing to the greater problem of stigmatizing those who have or do use drugs. I have never experienced someone have such a hard time obtaining necessary medication for a diagnosis not pertaining to drug use and my question is this: why does my loved one’s life not seem to be valued the same as someone who hasn’t used drugs?

     As someone who loves someone in recovery, I want to know why it is so hard for people to get coverage for the medication they need to continue to prosper in recovery; why do people who want to actively make changes for the better in their lives have to be faced with the further propagation of stigma? If we are wanting to address the opioid and overdose crisis in our country and our province, then what exactly are you doing to ensure that the help that people need is accessible and not hiding in systems that are daunting and impossible to navigate?

Getting access to coverage for suboxone is a large failing gap in the system and it is a problem that needs to be addressed immediately. 

 

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