Narcotic-prescribing doctors hard to find in Sudbury

A local counsellor says hundreds of people who need narcotics in Sudbury are going without.

“I've heard friends of mine who are doctors, and others. They're afraid of becoming known as the doctor who prescribes narcotics,” said Ray Landry, who works with the Reseau Access Network and works with clients with chronic pain issues.

In an interview with the CBC on Tuesday, Landry estimated thousands of people in Sudbury are waiting for a family doctor — and hundreds require treatment for pain.

He said doctors are reluctant to take on patients who need long-term pain management.

“Word gets out fast. If they are at a walk-in clinic, if they hold a practice, they'll get a lot of visits from a lot of people because a lot of people are desperate to get their needs met,” said Landry.

One of Landry’s clients says that he is living proof of this situation.

Landry began evaluating Kevin Lindbergh over the summer. A former heroin addict, Lindbergh says he has been clean since 1982.

When Lindbergh arrived in Ontario, he had a recommendation from his doctor in British Columbia for oxycodone to treat back and shoulder pain.

While he says he is willing to take consistent urine tests and even make daily pharmacy visits, it has still been a challenge for Lindbergh to find a doctor who will prescribe him narcotics.

“I've never abused any pain pills ever. And yet nobody will talk to me, nobody will look at me until I find a family doctor,” Lindbergh said.

Landry said that he has seen clients die who have not had access to proper treatment. 

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