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Joan Gadsby's Letter to the
Honourable Ujjal Dosanjh
October 12, 2000
Market-Media International Corp.
4507 Cedarcrest Ave., North Vancouver, BC, V7R 3R2, Canada
Phone: (604) 987-6064 Fax: (604) 987-6063
October 12, 2000
Honourable Ujjal Dosanjh,
Premier, Province of British Columbia,
P.O. Box 9041, Stn. Prov. Gov't,
Re: Consulting Proposal - Strategic Action Plan Benzodiazepines (Tranquillizers and Sleeping Pills)
Dear Mr. Premier,
At this time and further to your reply of June 20, 2000 to my request to meet with you regarding the serious and continuing problem of misprescribing tranquillizers and sleeping pills in this province, I am attaching a copy of my above referenced proposal to Minister Gretchen Brewin dated June 12, 2000.
As you know, this is a long standing major health issue with considerable socio-economic implications in British Columbia and elsewhere which costs millions of dollars and affects the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of uninformed men and women (of all ages) who become "accidental addicts" to these legal drugs prescribed by doctors beyond established guidelines (for short term i.e. 7 - 10 days or intermittent use) with very serious short and long term side effects (Reference attached document).
As I understand from speaking with addiction staff from the Ministry of Children and Families (who appear very supportive of my proposal) my proposal is being presented to Budget sessions currently and a decision will be forthcoming shortly.
You will note however from page 8 of my proposal I have approached the Provincial Government including Cabinet Ministers listed - also Penny Priddy on this subject consistently over the past 5 years. Unfortunately, little has changed in respect to addressing this issue with a concerted multi stakeholder focused strategic action plan and, these highly addictive drugs continue to be amongst the highest prescribed drugs in BC.
My attempts to meet with Mike Farnworth, Minister of Health and his Deputy Minister, Leah Hollins have unfortunately been unsuccessful to date. Phyllis Chuly from Program Integration, Ministry of Health in her letter of response July 11, 2000 indicates the Ministry of Health’s inability to fund "this initiative at this time" and Marnie Mitchell, Director of Pharmacare in her letter of June 16 indicated that "developing a program to address benzodiazepine utilization is not in (their) work plan at this time". Mr. Premier - when will the time come?
Mr. Premier, while I am hopeful of a favourable response from the Addiction section of the Ministry of Children and Families, I sincerely believe with this subject crossing over Ministerial boundaries including Health, the Attorney General and Women’s Equality that these Ministries should also be involved in funding this important project. To this end, I have offered in my proposal to present to all parties concerned. I have also been advised of your interest as well in this area as it relates to impaired driving on "benzos" in particular.
I therefore would appreciate your involvement and follow up with your colleagues on my proposal to develop and implement a multi stakeholder focused strategic action plan for tranquillizers and sleeping pills to ensure that this serious and long neglected health issue is in fact addressed. I believe this is also in keeping with your recent stated commitment to the health care system in this province in all respects. I am convinced that together we can make a difference I look forward to your early reply.
Joan E. Gadsby
Proposal June 12, 2000 with attachments to Minister Gretchen Brewin
Adverse side effects - Benzodiazepines
June 20, 2000 letter from your office
June 16, 2000 letter from Marnie Mitchell, Pharmacare Director
July 5, 2000 letter from Deputy Minister, Women's Equality
July 11, 2000 letter from Phyllis Chuly, Ministry of Health
August 15, 2000 letter from Minister of Health’s office
PS. I am personally aware of 5 deaths from benzo overdoses in this province in the past few months. Please give this matter the attention it deserves.
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