British Columbia Advocacy Campaign
We need you to become involved in BC Education and Medication Advocacy Campaigns
What Can You Do To Help?
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To bring awareness to these issues we need you to do one of the following things:
- Meet with your MLA or write a letter to your MLA
- Write a letter to: Dr. Heidi Oetter Registrar, College of Physicians & Surgeons of British Columbia, 300 669 Howe Street, Vancouver, BC V6C 0B4 (regarding the prescribing guidelines)
- Meet with or write a letter to your School Trustee to educate them on the issues
- Write a letter to the editor of your local or regional paper
The Current Situation in ADHD Stimulant Medication Treatment in BC
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC (CPSBC) has developed guidelines for the safe prescribing of drugs with potential for misuse and diversion. These guidelines were clearly developed for the prescribing of opiates. CADDAC and CADDRA both applaud this effort.
However, stimulant medication for the treatment of ADHD and benzodiazepines for the treatment of anxiety have also been included in these guidelines. Unfortunately this has resulted in the development of guidelines for the prescribing of stimulant ADHD medication treatment with a view of ADHD through a lens of addiction rather than a mental health disorder.
Your physician is being required to:
- Check your current medication profile through Pharmanet.
- Order yearly random urine tests. This means that with 24 hour notice the patient would need to present themselves at a lab for a routine drug screen. This drug test screens for opioids, amphetamines (found in ADHD amphetamine medication), and THC (found in cannabis). Screening cannot be done for Methylphenidate based medication. Other drugs can be requested as well. The patient is given a special sample bottle, must go into a room without their wallet or coat.
- Alternately, or in addition to urine tests, conduct random pill counts requiring the patient to bring in the prescribed pills for counting on a specific day.
Physicians in BC will no longer be able to:
- Prescribe stimulants used to treat ADHD with anxiety medications (benzodiazepines) or sedative hypnotics used to treat sleep problems
- Prescribe more than 3 months of medication at one time
Why is this a problem?
- This will result in the stigmatization and shaming of patients with ADHD and their families as well as inconvenience these families
- Yearly urine drug screening and/or pill counts for ADHD have no benefit unless the physician suspects addictions. If so, addiction protocols are already in place.
- We anticipate a decline in the number of family physicians and paediatricians willing to continue prescribing stimulant medication. These guidelines promote the perception that prescribing stimulant mediation is a problem with similar risks to prescribing opiates. There is no data or research to back up this perception.
- We have seen a steep decline in the number of stimulant ADHD medications being prescribed in BC resulting in more untreated ADHD. The resulting side effects and socioeconomic costs of untreated ADHD have been well documented.
- ADHD and anxiety medications will not be able to be prescribed together.
- ADHD medication and certain pain medications will not be able to be prescribed together. This will prevent the prescribing of pain medication for those with ADHD after an injury or surgery.
- Increased costs to BC healthcare for unnecessary tests and additional physician visits.
The request for follow-up by a physician every three months and limiting prescribing amounts to three months is not seen as an issue.
The Current Situation in BC Education
When CADDAC meets with government officials to advocate for needed changes to improve the lives of families with ADHD CADDAC is told that change will only happen through the interest of our elected officials.
On December the 4th 2017 CADDAC met with Minister Fleming and his staff to discuss ADHD in BC schools, our recent policy paper, the highly anticipated new BC Special Education guidelines, placing ADHD in a standalone category.
Here is a summary of what the Minister and his staff shared with CADDAC.
The guidelines in special education have been delayed due the change in government and a full review going forward in K to 12 funding. CADDAC was assured by the Minister that they intend to move forward with ADHD as a standalone category which would allow students with ADHD to receive IEPs. During the process of reviewing funding they will be reaching out to stakeholder groups after they complete their financial consultation. They will be informing CADDAC on a timeline for submissions. Deputy Minister Laura Sampson will be staying in touch to up-date CADDAC on these issues.
If you are interested in ensuring that changes to the special education guidelines move forward, you need to let your MLA and School Trustee know.