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How many drug users who had brain damage? Doctors say Canada needs data



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VANCOUVER: Dayton Wilson's drug-taking routine ended when he overwhelmed heroin with fentanyl, but being able to walk and talk normally is also part of his past, as he struggles with brain damage from a linked drug to thousands of dead.

Wilson, 24, used illicit drugs for the last time in August 2016 in Vancouver, Downtown Eastside, according to his mother, but does not remember anything of the day he was transferred to the hospital .

It was the first of two installations where it would take three months to learn to do a few steps and pronounce a few words.

The latest figures available from the Canadian Public Health Agency claim that more than 9,000 people lost serious overdose throughout the country between January 2016 and June 2018. The coroners' service of British Columbia registered near d & A third of these deaths.

But there are no complete statistics for people who have survived the detrimental effects of the brain of opioids. Doctors say that information is essential to understand the magnitude of the "forgotten" victims of the opiate crisis and provide them with care and resources so that they can be as functional as possible.

More than two years after the speech, physical and occupational therapy, Wilson speaks carefully and it is difficult to understand. He paused before answering a question about what he could remember after being transported to the Hospital de Sant Pau in an ambulance.

"I do not remember this, but it was not breathing for about five minutes," he said, while thinking that his brain was oxygen-free.

While speaking can be frustrating, the most regrettable is not being able to rap, one of his passions.

"Balance is now too difficult," he said, adding that he sometimes falls back and hit his head.

Wilson said he started experimenting with medication at age 15 before becoming an addict heroin two years later. The cerebral damage that he experienced at age 21 helped him understand the power and the changing effects of his addiction.

"I really like the person who did me," he said of his ordeal. "I do not like what I've done".

Her mother, Valerie Wilson, said she and her ex-husband had refused to let their child live with them, as they continued to overdose in their homes, even after treatment, since they worried about the effects of their addiction to their other children.

The impact of the final overdose was difficult for the family.

"I was trying to eat and it was like seeing a sick of severe Parkinson's," Wilson said to see his son in the hospital. "It was shaking and I could not keep the food on the fork".

Wilson said there is little awareness about the consequences of brain injury in those who have survived the opiate crisis.

"One thing I hear a lot about is:" At least you still have it. "Many times, I am like" Well, in fact, no, I do not. "I have a version of it."

She said that her son was an iron worker riding tall steel beams and now he did not want to go to the edge of a rock on the seafront because it could fall.

Wilson's family has tried to find community programs and support groups for him, but the only services available are for people who deal with related problems, including stroke that affects older adults, his mother said.

"He wants to be a contributing member of society," he said, adding that his son recently achieved a part-time job as a cleaner at a hotel in Kamloops, where he now lives with his father.

"Going to work is important for your self-esteem and now that you have this job, where essentially it is the cleaning of toilets," he estimates.

Norma McDonald's daughter, Tracey McDonald, now 44, was addicted to prescription opioids for decades after an endometriosis diagnosis when he was 14 years old. He suffered brain damage after his first and only overdose in July 2017.

"Endometriosis was so painful that it would literally be thrown to the ground," said McDonald of his daughter, who started "making medical purchases" for methadone, OxyContin and Percocet, and finally went through the treatment of addiction to your family's doctor's advice.

He fell back and overdosed, suffering from brain damage that affected his speech and left it dependent on a wheelchair, his mother said.

"When people felt it was caused by a fentanyl overdose, then it is more than just a cancellation and that is regrettable," said McDonald of her daughter, who lives with her parents.

The doctor Adam Peets, doctor of the intensive care unit of the hospital of St. Paul, where Wilson was initially treated, said brain cells could be affected in only 30 seconds after someone overwhelmed and the level of damage could vary from mild to severe.

It is estimated that between 25% and 33% of patients are admitted to the ICU due to complications of drugs that are becoming stronger as fentanyl and carpentalinil, but there is currently no way to collect this Good information, said Peets.

Electronic medical records include the diagnosis of a patient in the hospital, he said.

But some of these people may be diagnosed with shock or something inaccurate in an emergency room and a brain injury will be determined later by subsequent laboratory tests, which said they are registered in a separate system .

"It's shameful, frankly," Peets said about the lack of data on brain lesions induced by overdose, which he would like to see traced nationally. "It's a fact that the whole health system needs to work better."

With no data, it is impossible to measure the resources that are used in hospitals or how resources could be used in the community, Peets said.

"How can we adjust our way of doing business without having the best data to help drive these decisions, such as personnel or go to the government and say:" Look how many patients have overdose and have a chronic brain injury? We have to do more primary prevention and secondary prevention or post-discharge rehab. "

St. Paul will be among the hospitals in the Vancouver area to launch a new health records management system in 2019 to better compile data, but will not be rationalized by the province, where multiple systems are used, he said.

Patricia Daly, Vancouver Medical Health Health Care Officer, described the lack of data on brain lesions induced by "tragic" overdose, since neither the patients nor their families receive the support they need.

"We focus on the dead, but we forget that there is another group of people who have been negatively affected, some seriously."

Nicholas Gnidziejko, manager of the administrative administrative databases of the Canadian Institute of Health Information, said that national statistics on brain damage related to the overdose crisis will require developing a set of rules for collect the data in a coherent and exhaustive way, but there is no such system in any province.

Camille Bains, The Canadian Press

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