Sudbury Addictions Specialist at New Chronic Pain Clinic Hopes to Reduce Opioid Usage

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Sudbury addictions specialist Dr. Mike Franklyn explains that the Health Sciences North’s new chronic pain clinic will help with the opioid crisis. The clinic will help patients deal with their chronic pain. The team at the hospital will also be able to cut down on the ER visits, and medication people take for the pain.

Dr. James Callaghan, the lead physician for the clinic, said what he tells his patients:

“I always tell my patients, if I get your pain down to zero, I didn’t do my job because I’ve probably put you in a coma.”

He has even seen some patients that take fewer opioids after visiting the clinic, and that only when they’re in great pain, they will take them. When the pain is manageable, they would take other medicine or do exercises and stretches.

Dr. Mike Franklyn said that this approach taken by the hospital was a good idea:

“My concern is I suspect that they’re going to become inundated with people who have a five, 10, 15, 20 year history of chronic pain and the only modality they’ve been exposed to is the opioids. That’s a problem.”

When to Take Opioids

Franklyn believes that the doctors that prescribe opioids as the first way of medication for people in chronic pain is not the best idea, adding that:

Dr. James Callaghan

“The very pills that help with the pain initially, now make you experience more pain. Initially, you have a response that it blocks [the pain]. But after a while, the body needs to feel pain as an early warning system. So you develop tolerance [and] you need more and more and more.”

He explains that opioids are used in treating acute pain like those from injuries or after surgery, and only a 3-5 day prescription for them, concluding that for the rest, people should receive anti-inflammatories or other medicines. Nonetheless, “for chronic pain, we should probably never start”  taking opioids, he concluded.

Doris’s passion for writing started to take shape in college where she was editor-in-chief of the college newspaper. Even though she ended up working in IT for more than 7 years, she’s now back to what he always enjoyed doing. With a true passion for technology, Doris mostly covers tech-related topics.