Toronto Private Hospital sees early spike in drug detox programs ahead of new Codeine restrictions

DETOX PROGRAMS: Toronto Private Hospital chief executive officer, Jason Thomas. Picture: David Stewart
DETOX PROGRAMS: Toronto Private Hospital chief executive officer, Jason Thomas. Picture: David Stewart

TORONTO Private Hospital is experiencing a spike in demand for its detox programs as patients with a codeine dependency anticipate the affects of new restrictions on the availability of the painkilling drug.

New laws to be introduced on February 1 will restrict the sale of products containing codeine to those with a prescription from their doctor.

This is problematic for those who have developed a codeine dependency.

Toronto Private Hospital chief executive officer, Jason Thomas, said he had already seen an increase in the demand for the hospital’s detox programs in anticipation of the codeine restriction.

“The government is introducing changes because of the risks associated with long term use of over-the-counter codeine medicines,” Mr Thomas said.

“However, this means that those who have been taking codeine for an extended period of time and have developed a dependency will now find themselves without access to their painkillers, unless prescribed by a doctor. Our medicated detox program is available for both inpatients and day patients to suit the needs of the individual.”

The new laws will restrict the sale of painkillers such as Panadeine, Nurofen Plus, Mersyndol and Pharmacy generic brand pain relief products as well as some cold and flu medicines.

Taking codeine-combination medicines more frequently than recommended may not only lead to a risk of dependence, but can also result in liver, stomach and kidney damage.

“Opioid painkiller dependence is a condition that requires treatment,” Mr Thomas said. “Our programs assist the patient to reduce their dependency while also managing the uncomfortable side effects of overcoming an opioid addiction such as tremors, constipation and hallucinations.”

People who suspect they are addicted to codeine should see their doctor for advice. To access a detox program, ask your GP for a referral to Toronto Private Hospital’s mental health unit, the Woodlands Ward.

  • Call 1800 311 470.