News release

Minister Asks Public Health to Examine Recent Drug-related Deaths

The recent prescription drug-related deaths in the Annapolis Valley will be examined for any links, Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald announced today, April 20.

Dr. Richard Gould, Medical Officer of Health for the Annapolis Valley, Southwest and South Shore, will work with Annapolis Valley District Health Authority, to look into the deaths, which have raised concerns among law enforcement and community organizations.

After a meeting with the college of physicians and surgeons, the college of pharmacists, the prescription monitoring program, and addiction services, Ms. MacDonald felt it was appropriate to examine the issue from a public health perspective.

"Mental health and addictions are a priority for government, and I am concerned about this very complex issue," said Ms. MacDonald. "We decided the best course of action is to engage Dr. Gould to determine the facts and report on any patterns he finds related to these unfortunate deaths."

Dr. Gould will also work with the Kentville chief of police and the medical examiner's office.

"The Nova Scotia Prescription Monitoring program has been working very closely with the Department of Health and Wellness, law enforcement and licensing bodies to monitor the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs," said Denise Pellerin, manager with the prescription monitoring program. "And we have been educating physicians and pharmacists about the tools and services available to assist them in prescribing and dispensing monitored drugs.

"The program is looking forward to continuing to collaborate with these groups as we find ways to help address prescription drug misuse and abuse in communities across the province."

The Minister of Health and Wellness has developed a working group to examine law enforcement concerns about prescription drug abuse, and has asked members to make recommendations by the end of June.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald has asked Dr. Richard Gould to examine the recent prescription drug-related deaths in the Annapolis Valley.

Ms. MacDonald says addictions are a priority, and she has engaged Dr. Gould, Medical Officer of Health for the Annapolis Valley, Southwest and South Shore, to find any patterns related to the recent deaths.

Ms. MacDonald has also developed a working group to examine law enforcement concerns about prescription drug abuse, and has asked members make recommendations by the end of June.

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Media Contact:

Chrissy Matheson
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