Opioids: From Wonder Drug to Epidemic- Now What?
Reporter and Writer, CBC News
Talk Title: From Remote Communities to Downtown Streets: No One is Immune to Canada's Opioid Crisis
Nicole Ireland is a national reporter and producer for CBC News in Toronto. She specializes in reporting on health and social justice issues - a passion that stems from her background in both health care and international development.
Prior to becoming a journalist, Nicole worked as a communications officer for St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto and for UNICEF -- a role that took her to Sudan, Sri Lanka and Lebanon to tell the stories of people affected by crisis. Through those experiences, Nicole realized that her true calling was reporting, so she completed a graduate degree in journalism at Columbia University in New York. She then returned home to Canada to work for CBC News, where she has been a reporter in Iqaluit, Nunavut; Thunder Bay, Ontario; and Toronto.
Nicole has been reporting on the opioid crisis in Canada since 2012, from stories on OxyContin's devastating effects on the streets of Thunder Bay and on remote First Nations to the emergence of fentanyl across the country, including Toronto.
Harm Reduction Program Coordinator, Queen West Community Health Centre
Talk Title: TBA
Matt Johnson is the Harm Reduction Program Coordinator at Queen West Community Health Centre. He is a long-time harm reduction worker, advocate and one of the original organizers of the Overdose Prevention Site in Moss Park. He continues to push for greater and meaningful involvement of people who use drugs in the development and implementation of services as well as policies affecting drug users. He works for an end to the drug war, and a humane system based in respect, human rights, and greater health and stability for all.
Hance Clarke, MD, PhD
Director Pain Services, University of Toronto
Talk Title: The Opioid Crisis: A View from the Frontline
Hance Clarke, MD, PhD, is the Director of Pain Services and the Medical Director of the Pain Research Unit and the Elhers Danlos Program at the Toronto General Hospital (TGH).
Dr. Clarke has been recognized nationally and internationally for his research productivity and improvements to patient care such as the development of his novel Transitional Pain Program. His research interests include identifying novel acute pain treatments following major surgery, identifying the factors involved in the transition of acute postsurgical pain to chronic pain and identifying risk factors associated with continued opioid use and poor health related quality of life after major surgery. He has authored more than 60 peer-reviewed manuscripts in the past five years and supervised more than 30 students.
Dr. Clarke has also played a leading role in educating the Canadian public about pain control, risk factors for chronic opioid use, alternatives to opioids as a pioneering strategy at TGH, misconceptions about opioid use, and the need for further studies on understanding the beneficial and adverse effects of cannabis. He is a strong public champion of evidence-based solutions for the opioid crisis and a national pain and addictions strategy.
In addition to his medical and further anesthesia training at University of Toronto (U of T), he received his PhD from the Institute of Medical Science at U of T and is a member of the Royal College Clinician Scientist Program.
David Juurlink, MD, PhD
Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics and Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto
Talk Title: Addressing the Opioid Crisis
Dr. Juurlink is a staff internist and head of the division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology at Sunnybrook. He is professor and Head of the division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Toronto. He is also a medical toxicologist at the Ontario Poison Centre at the Hospital for Sick Children and a senior scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, where he maintains an active research program in the field of drug safety.