Manitoba addictions expert quits job
One of Manitoba's foremost experts on addictions is leaving her job out of frustration.
Dr. Lindy Lee said the addictions unit at Winnipeg's Health Sciences Centre is overwhelmed with people addicted to opiates such as OxyContin and codeine.
The unit needs to be expanded into a full clinic to deal with the growing demand, she said, noting that staff are so overwhelmed they can't assist people when they first call for help.
"It needs a whole organized clinic…an outpatient clinic. And although we've asked for that, it's not happening and the workload is no longer manageable," Lee said.
After being told last month that her requests for more resources would have to wait for two years, Lee handed in her resignation.
Her role as director of the unit will officially cease at the end of August.
She said she hopes she can find other ways to help people in the community but does not yet know how she will do that.
"This problem has not yet peaked in Winnipeg and rural Manitoba," Lee said.
"There is a movement now towards medical education around opiate use but if you're already addicted and you're seeking treatment, education isn't going to change that."
OxyContin is a prescription painkiller that is sometimes crushed and snorted by addicts.
Codeine can be obtained by prescription, but it's also found in popular non-prescription products. It can be extracted from such products to make a powerful narcotic that is similar to morphine.