WCB approves of opioids and benzodiazepines for medical treatment. And doctors are prescribing benzodiazepines, like Xanax and Ativan, at accelerating rates. But most don’t know about their debilitating, even deadly, effects.
A Globe & Mail examination of cases involving dozens of injured workers dependent on narcotic painkillers has revealed deeply entrenched flaws in the provincial workers’ comp systems. Case data show injured workers who become addicted to narcotics – paid for by the WCBs – simply find another way to get them when that coverage ends.
Alberta and Ontario, with the second and third highest death rates, will cover workers’ benzodiazepines for 12 weeks before limits kick in. “Twelve weeks is way too long – unless that person has a major type of injury,” says Dr. Manak, Ontario-based psychiatrist. “After just 4 weeks, 50% of patients will likely develop addiction.”
Dr. Anna Lembke, chief of medicine at Stanford Medical Center, said complications from benzos are fueling a hidden epidemic. “Let’s hope doctors become better informed,” says Lembke, “but for now, the onus is on patients to be aware.”
Below, the eminent Dr. Jordan Peterson in his first public appearance after his own near-death encounter with benzodiazepines.