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Roger Collierl | CMAJ | Nov. 18, 2016

  • Opioid-poisoning hospitalizations increased more than 30% between 2007 and 2015, according to a joint report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information and the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. On average, 13 Canadians are hospitalized for opioid poisoning every day.
  • Only 9% of Canadian youth aged 5­-17 get the recommended 60 minutes of “heart-pumping” physical activity a day, ranking near the bottom in a comparison of 37 countries by ParticipACTION. Canada’s poor showing is partly due to a “culture of convenience,” unlike those in Slovenia and New Zealand, where physical activity is a way of life rather than a choice.
  • Emergency-department (ED) visits by people aged 65 and older in Ontario increased 29.1% over the past seven years (and increased 13.4% overall), according to a report by Health Quality Ontario. On a positive note, ED visits decreased in length and most Ontarians (72.6%) report satisfaction with the emergency care they received.
  • Stock prices in the Canadian medical marijuana sector became so volatile that trading was halted for several companies. Trading is automatically halted when a single stock climbs or falls at least 10% in a five-minute period, as was the case for six medical marijuana stocks.
  • There were 622 overdose deaths involving illicit drugs in British Columbia in the first 10 months of 2016, up from 397 last year. Of the 63 drug-related deaths in October, 60% involved fentanyl. BC Premier Christy Clark met with federal officials this week to discuss concerns about the province’s opioid crisis.

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  • The $270 million allotted in the 2016 federal budget to improve health facilities for First Nations is “only a drop in the bucket in terms of what the need is,” according to Health Minister Dr. Jane Philpott. Addressing the many health and socioeconomic problems among indigenous peoples will require a “whole of government” approach, said Philpott.
  • Marijuana may serve as an “exit drug” for some people, helping them to fight addictions to substances such as alcohol or opioids, according to researchers at the University of British Columbia. The researchers, who performed a comprehensive review of studies on cannabis and mental health, also found evidence to support marijuana use in treating symptoms of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and social anxiety.
  • Women from Fort McMurray who were pregnant during the wildfire, or became pregnant after, are being studied by researchers at the University of Alberta. The stress caused by the disaster puts the women at higher risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes and their children at higher risk of developmental delays, according to the researchers.
  • More than half of Quebec’s residents are overweight and 20% are obese, according to a study from the province’s office of public health. The number of people with diabetes doubled between 2000 and 2014, from 300 000 to 600 000.
  • Three sites have been proposed for supervised drug injection facilities in Victoria, BC, with the backing of the provincial government. Health Canada has not yet approved the sites.

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