Gerry Rogers Question Period (05.08.2012)

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John’s Centre.

MS ROGERS: Mr. Speaker, mothers and fathers are calling me in absolute desperation, trying to get help for their sons who have been kicked off methadone treatment and are now trying to detox themselves at home. Their sons are afraid, saying they fear they are going to die. Their parents are afraid; they are in a living hell, and they are not the only ones. Mr. Speaker, there is an eighteen month wait list for the methadone treatment program, and the private doctors will not take these patients back or they wait-list them.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the Minister of Health: what am I to tell these families to do? What am I to tell these sons who are pleading for help, to do?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Health and Community Services.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, the first thing that she should tell them to do is call Eastern Health if they are calling from her constituency, because we need professionals dealing with these people, not (inaudible).

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, concern around addictions in this Province is something that we take very, very seriously, and we have worked long and hard to ensure that the services that we offer are the best services that we can possibly offer, Mr. Speaker.

Yesterday I went through a full list of services that we are offering here in Newfoundland and Labrador, and I am prepared to offer up that list again, Mr. Speaker. She needs to understand, the member opposite needs to understand, that we take this issue very, very seriously; hence the work that we have been doing particularly in light of the closure of a downtown drug store here in Newfoundland and Labrador -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John’s Centre.

MS ROGERS: Mr. Speaker, these families have been calling Eastern Health and have been reaching out for help. Many of our citizens are dealing with severe drug addictions. They are sick and they need help, and are crying out for help. If they were diagnosed with any other illness they would not have to wait eighteen months to get into a treatment program. Not treating these people in a timely manner means more crime and more prolonged suffering.

Mr. Speaker, what concretely is this government going to do to shorten the wait times for methadone treatment for those who need it?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Health and Community Services.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, we have a new division within Health and Community Services that is called the Clinical Efficiency Division. That division, in and of itself, has been doing some work around this issue. Mr. Speaker, we are continuously trying to find new doctors who are willing to take on methadone patients or patients that potentially may need methadone.

Mr. Speaker, the other thing that we need to point out here, though, is that methadone is not the only solution. There are a number of options that are available, and health care professionals have to make those determinations, Mr. Speaker, not elected politicians. Health care providers determine what it is that is necessary.

Associated Caucus Members: 

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