By Roger Collier | CMAJ | Sept. 9, 2016
- A constitutional challenge of the ban on private health care in British Columbia began in BC Supreme Court. Lawyers leading the case, which some view as an attack on medicare, argue that the BC government has failed to provide timely health services and patients are suffering on long wait lists.
- Marijuana should remain illegal for people under age 21, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) recommended to the task force advising the federal government on legalization. The CMA also recommended restrictions on quantity and potency for Canadians until age 25.
- Doctors are now allowed to prescribe pharmaceutical-grade heroin to people with opioid addictions who have not responded to traditional treatments. Health Canada amended regulations made by the previous federal government that banned the practice.
- A fifth of postsecondary students in Canada have mental health problems such as depression or anxiety, according to a survey of 41 institutions. The survey found a decrease (8%) of students who reported that their health was very good or excellent (compared to 2013 data), and more students (3%-4%) reported anxiety, depression and stress.
- Six previously unregulated chemicals used to make fentanyl have been declared illegal by Health Canada. The chemicals have been added to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
- The Centre for Addition and Mental Health (CAMH) will undergo a major expansion to improve access to its services, announced the Ontario government. Up to $2 million will fund the redevelopment, which will include clinical, research and educational facilities.
- McGill University will open a satellite medical school in Gatineau in 2020, announced Quebec Premier Dr. Philippe Couillard (who is a neurosurgeon). The program, created to keep more doctors in the West Quebec region, will have 24 students a year.
- The aboriginal mental-health care system in British Columbia is “wildly inconsistent and chronically underfunded,” according to a report by the province’s child advocate. They system is plagued by administrative confusion, under-staffing and extensive wait lists, states the report.
- About 1 in 5 Canadian teenagers have considered attempting suicide in the previous year, according to a survey by Kids Help Phone. Girls were twice as likely to contemplate suicide as boys, and contributing factors to suicidal thoughts include violence at home, body-image concerns and addictions to drugs and alcohol.
- Researchers must now explain how they considered gender in their studies if they want to publish in the Canadian Journal of Public Health. The journal is concerned about problems associated with clinical trials that recruit only men but apply findings to everyone.
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