Lauren Vogel | CMAJ | August 18, 2017
  • Smoking marijuana while driving should be illegal and THC levels in recreational cannabis should be capped after it becomes legal next year, stated the Canadian Mental Health Association. The association also called for tax revenues from the recreational market to be dedicated to addiction and mental health services.
  • There was a “steady rise” in the percentage of oral cancers caused by the human papillomavirus in Canada from 2000 to 2012, found a study in CMAJ. The percentage increased from 47.3% to 73.7%.
  • The federal government is taking precautions to guard against conflicts of interest in updating Canada’s Food Guide and acknowledged the perception that the current guide was influenced by industry. Health Canada stated it is looking at the best available scientific data and will not use evidence funded by parties with vested interests.
  • The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) planned to leak the names of some top-billing doctors to media to “minimize the damage” of losing their legal battle with the Ontario privacy commissioner to keep the names secret, reported the Toronto Star. The OMA denied it was actively consulting with membership on this issue, claiming discussions of the strategy were personal comments.
  • Drug users should be allowed to grow their own opium so they have an uncontaminated alternative to street drugs, the BC Centre for Disease Control recommended in a new plan to address the province’s opioid crisis. The centre also recommended expanding drug testing services and fighting stigma around drug addiction.
  • There are only about 10 places in Ontario where women can obtain a prescription for the abortion pill Mifegymiso, according to Planned Parenthood Ottawa. Of the nearly 30 000 physicians and 15 700 pharmacists in the province, only 1800 have taken or are registered to take the course required to prescribe or dispense the pill.
  • Incidence rates of thyroid cancer in Canada have increased rapidly in recent decades but mortality rates have remained stable, suggesting there may be an “overdiagnosis epidemic,” found an analysis in CMAJ Open. “To reduce the harms of overtreatment, overdiagnosis should be reduced, through more judicious use of diagnostic imaging,” concluded the authors.
  • Toronto Public Health plans to open an interim safe-injection site within a week, following a recent spike in overdose deaths in Toronto. Three permanent sites are expected to open in the city in the fall.
  • Canadian advertisers criticized proposed restrictions on marketing food and drinks to children, arguing they are “significantly overbroad.” Health Canada consulted stakeholders on advertising restrictions based on “nutrient threshold options” for daily values of saturated fat, sugars and sodium.
  • McGill University researchers highlighted “huge gaps” in services for young adults with diabetes transitioning between pediatric and adult care in Quebec. Only 25% of pediatric care providers interviewed across 12 centres reported having formal transition plans.

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