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Opioid-related deaths affecting more younger adults, study finds – Medical Xpress

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Opioid-related mortality rate per 100,000 person-years, by age and date of death in months in Ontario. Note the age-related shift in peak mortality rates from the 45 to 54-year age group in 2003 to the 25 to 44-year age group in 2020. Credit: Paul et al., 2022, PLOS ONE, CC-BY 4.0 (creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

From 2003 through 2020, as opioid-related mortality in Ontario, Canada increased five-fold, the age distribution also shifted downward—with rates now peaking for people in their mid-30s—according to a new study published this week in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Patrick Brown of University of Toronto, and colleagues.

Opioid-related mortality is a critical public health issue in North America, with rates of opioid-related deaths having increased drastically over recent years. Updated on the demographic makeup of deaths and how they have changed over time is crucial to tailoring .

In the new study, the researchers used from the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario, the most populous province in Canada. Opioid-related deaths were defined as deaths where acute drug toxicity involving opioids was considered as directly contributing to the cause of death.

Between 2003 and 2020, there were 11,633 opioid-related deaths in people aged 15 through 69. Overall, 72% of during the 18-year study period were male, and accidental deaths accounted for 82% of the deaths.

Opioid-related mortality rates jumped more than fivefold over this period. They increased substantially for both sexes and across all ages over time, with a downward shifting age distribution for both sexes. Using a novel Bayesian modeling approach, the authors estimated that in 2003, the maximum mortality rate for males, of 5.5 deaths per 100,000 person-years (95% CI 4.0-7.6), was seen around age 44, while in 2020, the maximum of 67.2 deaths per 100,000 person-years (95% CI 55.3-81.5) was at age 35. For females, the greatest mortality rates also shifted to younger ages; in 2003 the peak of 2.2 deaths per 100,000 person-years (95% CI 1.5-3.2) was at age 51, while in 2020, the peak of 16.8 (95% CI 12.8-22.0) was at age 37.

Based on the observed data and resulting models, the researchers hypothesize that opioid-related mortality among the younger population will continue to grow. Targeting strategies to address opioid-related mortality among individuals in the 25 to 44-year age group is of greater importance than in the past, they conclude.

The authors add: “Opioid-related mortality has been rising in Ontario, Canada since 2003, and after a brief decline in part of 2019, the resumed in the 2020 COVID-19 era. Using a novel Bayesian model and high-frequency data from the coroner’s office, we show that the of opioid-related mortality has shifted gradually over 18 years from being highest among the 45 to 54-year age group, to being highest among the 25 to 44-year age group.”


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Sex disparities in COVID-19 risk among people with opioid use disorder


More information:
Identifying the changing age distribution of opioid-related mortality with high-frequency data, PLoS ONE (2022). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0265509

Citation:
Opioid-related deaths affecting more younger adults, study finds (2022, April 20)
retrieved 21 April 2022
from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-04-opioid-related-deaths-affecting-younger-adults.html

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Wildlife rescue on Vancouver Island to limit visitors as avian flu continues to spread in B.C. – CBC.ca

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A wildlife rescue in the Comox Valley, on Vancouver Island, is closing its visitor centre starting Monday due to the spread of avian flu in B.C.

The Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) Wildlife Rescue Centre, in Merville, B.C., announced it would be limiting visitors due to the risk that the disease poses to its captive birds, which include owls, eagles, and albino crows.

The decision comes after a small poultry flock in the Comox Valley tested positive for the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus last week, the first such case on Vancouver Island.

It is part of a rapidly-spreading outbreak of the flu throughout North America, with eight cases recorded in B.C. since April 13.

The concern is that a visitor could inadvertently bring the virus to the MARS centre on their vehicle, shoes or clothing.

“All of the species that we have in permanent captivity here … they are especially susceptible to the avian flu,” said Gylaine Andersen, manager of wildlife rehabilitation at MARS. “They are more likely to get severe symptoms, and actually die from the flu, than other types of animals.”

“It was a really difficult decision to close the visitor centre because we need the visitor centre to support the wildlife rehab program. But we just had to do it for the safety of our resident birds.”

The centre hosts two bald eagles and multiple owls that were previously rescued, as well as a red-tailed hawk. MARS also has two albino crows in residence named Nimpkish and Kokish.

Nimpkish and Kokish, two albino crows, are seen here at the MARS Wildlife Rescue. They are particularly susceptible to avian flu, according to Gylaine Andersen. (MARS Wildlife Rescue)

Andersen said the temporary closure comes at the busiest time of year for the centre. It might struggle to weather the loss of income without public donations, she said.

“At this time of year, we’re getting lots of little baby birds and baby mammals at the hospital,” she told CBC News. “Over at the visitor centre, this is when we would have the most visitation from the public.”

The MARS wildlife hospital remains open, according to the rescue’s website, but Andersen said it would be “an expensive time of year” without funds for PPE and other medical equipment.

Andersen asked poultry owners to be extra vigilant as avian flu continues to spread in the province, and also reiterated a call to take down bird feeders to stop the spread among wild birds.

Avian flu cases have been confirmed in several other provinces, but no infections have been detected in humans.

Officials say the illness is not considered a significant concern for healthy people who are not in regular contact with infected birds.

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Mental Health Issues Demand Resolution

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Should those who hold public office show that they are of sound mind and body before taking office and during the years they serve? Are those bureaucrats who truly run our government ever tested or investigated for various mental health issues that could surely affect their performance as public employees?

Imagine what the mental state of public servants is like these days? Besides the Pandemics’ influence upon us all, these men and women are responsible for public service to their communities and nation. Man public employees are under vigorous scrutiny for their honesty and performance as employees, but what about their mental health challenges? Various municipal, State and Federal authorities make attempts to pinpoint an employee in need, someone needing assistance and direction in their professional and personal lives, but it is difficult to do. Privacy and union issues often stand in between the person in need and those who would assist them. Furthermore, many employees refuse to seek assistance, for reasons of professional survival. Say an employee has an important job where many decisions are made influencing the community at large(ie Police). That person needs assistance for some mental health issues but fears either losing their jobs or being declared problematic employees, slowing promotions or professional advancement. They clam up, interiorizing their pain, fear or distress.

Most public institutions will honestly admit they do not invest enough into mental health services for their fellow employees.

Our elected officials have much to hide away from their future or present-day electors. What if they have a skeleton in their closet? A colourful personal history, a criminal record, possible mental health or physical health issue. Issues that are allowed to be hidden from the transparency portfolio. If asked, tell the truth(as they see it), otherwise hide what can be hidden. Politicians performing their service to the community, are placed under a microscope by the electorate and media alike. This must be stressful to them and their families too. Are elected officials ever evaluated for mental health status ever, before being elected and during their service?

Do you think anyone with a criminal record or under investigation should be removed or barred from holding office or in a position of public trust? Is the trust of the electorate easily given? A public official or employee could mishandle a portfolio, or commit a crime while in public service. How often have you seen such an individual stand before the media’s camera, proclaiming their innocence or sorrow of their actions?

We have heard many public officials call for hugely needed investments in the treatment of mental health issues, yet these investments are either moving at a snail’s pace or not at all. Our military and police have been calling for assistance regarding their need for mental health programs for two decades with little happening. The government’s response is usually words, words, and more words with little accountable assistance given. Our government has enough revenue to invest in weapons for the police and military, building structures and community centers, highways and new computers, but when asked to invest in people, their employees and the electorate, it’s either too costly or they have not the funds.

The Police and Military: Have an immediate need for trained mental health professionals, therapists and therapy-recoup centers. If the government can send them into harm’s way, they are responsible to maintain their mental health.

Government Agencies: Due to privacy issues, the government should make allotments to their employees available to find and go to therapy. A healthy employee is a trusted effective one. The government should source mental health professionals for those who serve them. Furthermore, Governments and their agencies are responsible to encourage, initiate and plan for the training of these professionals. A well-paid professional will make their placement a long-term investment. If our public employees can rely upon their employer to care for them, we can rely upon our public sector.

An established long-term mental health program needs to be established. This can be all-inclusive to the entire community. For example, gun owners, and drivers of vehicles should be required to invest their time in an interview and possible retraining every five years. Should a mental health issue be recognized, it can be dealt with appropriately and calmly. Bad habits, addictions, attitudes and illnesses developed over time can be recognized and something is done about them promptly and privately.

We have forgotten that much that we receive from and within our society is a privilege, something that should be earnt, and not awarded. Our mental health changes over time, and so too our responsibility to our communities, family and society. Is the public sector becoming our parents, our caregivers? In many ways, it is, and so our overall health, and that of our minds may be calling for community maintenance.

Steven Kaszab
Bradford, Ontario
skaszab@yahoo.ca

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BC bird flu: Vancouver Island farmers on alert | CTV News – CTV News VI

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The fears of many chicken farmers on Vancouver Island have been realized. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed that a case of the avian flu that’s been spreading across Canada has been found in a small flock in the Comox Valley on Wednesday.

Jeremy Vigini considers his birds pets, but they do provide limited income on his Black Creek, B.C., hobby farm, Broken Head Farms.

He’s only been at it for a few months but had heard the bird flu was headed towards the island.

“We first started hearing there was a problem last month,” he said, noting that he’d been keeping an eye on biosecurity and preventative measures.

Vigini and other poultry operations of all sizes are now under tighter restrictions after a positive case of the avian flu was confirmed on the Mid-Island.

“All we got was a post saying it’s in the Comox Valley now, and so our minds went to, ‘How do we secure our birds, our pets, all this stuff?'” he said.

Vigini’s now put up a new gate and increased fencing and netting to try to keep wild birds out.

WILDLIFE WORKERS

Staff and volunteers at the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Centre (MARS) in Merville are increasing their protocols.

“[It’s] extremely contagious as far as we are aware, so at this point it can spread to any species of bird. Not necessarily all birds will show symptoms,” said Gylaine Andersen, manager of wildlife rehabilitation at MARS.

Staff are now taking a second look at the condition of their current patients.

“It’s kind of hard because a lot of these symptoms we’re seeing in animals anyway, and now we have to think, ‘OK maybe this is the flu instead of whatever else they would normally be,'” said Andersen.

The facility’s asking the general public to help out by encouraging birds to socially distance.

“For gathering of birds at bird feeders and bird baths, we are asking that people take those down,” said Andersen.

MARS is worried that if the avian flu is left unchecked, it could spread to wild birds, like eagles and geese.

As of Wednesday, seven properties across B.C. had confirmed cases of the avian flu. 

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