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Lauren Vogel | CMAJ | June 2, 2017

  • Health Canada approved new supervised consumption sites in British Columbia and Quebec, but restricted supervision to people who inject drugs. “All modes of consumption can be dangerous and should be supervised, so it’s incomprehensible to me that there would currently be this restriction,” said Dr. Perry Kendall, BC’s chief provincial health officer.
  • Alberta declared a public health crisis in response to a spike in opioid deaths. More than 100 Albertans died of apparent fentanyl overdoses in the first three months of 2017. The province committed an additional $30 million and announced a 14-member commission to address the problem.
  • A CMAJ editorial called for tougher rules on legal marijuana to protect young people. Interim Editor-in-Chief Dr. Diane Kelsall argued the proposed legislation sets the minimum age for buying recreational marijuana too low and, by allowing people to grow pot at home, increases the likelihood of diversion to youth.
  • An online medical appointment booking service asked the Quebec Superior Court to stop an audit by the province’s health insurance board, accusing the government of undertaking a “fishing expedition” to steal its algorithms and client list. The company, Bonjour-Santé, says the province has a conflict of interest because it is creating its own appointment system.
  • Alberta’s plan for a $1.6-billion health information system may be undermined by excluding family doctors’ offices from the project, an audit showed. According to the report, experience in other jurisdictions shows that the anticipated benefits of such a system “come only when primary care data is [sic] linked to hospital data.”
  • The Canadian Paediatric Society urged doctors to advise parents to limit screen time for young children between the ages of two and five to less than one hour a day. The position statement also recommended that children under two shouldn’t spend any time in front of television, tablet, computer or phone screens.
  • A privacy breach affecting more than 1500 patients and staff of Manitoba’s Prairie Mountain Health region may have been an attempt to spread a computer virus, rather than to access personal information. The data involved ambulance transportation records from 2013 to this year.
  • Health Canada warned that unauthorized products containing the prescription drugs L-tryptophan and lithium orotate sold on may pose serious health risks. The online retailer removed the products at Health Canada’s request.
  • Nova Scotia health officials warned of a steady rise in Lyme disease in the province. According to the Nova Scotia Health Authority, there were 254 reported cases of Lyme disease in 2015, up from 115 cases the year before. There were 701 cases between 2002 and 2015.
  • There were 136 suspected drug overdose deaths in BC in April, bringing the total this year to 488. The province reported 931 overdose deaths last year and is predicting about 1500 overdose deaths in 2017.

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