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How many drug users have brain damage? Doctors say the data is needed

Camille Bains, Canadian Press

Posted Monday, December 31, 2018. 7:46 PM PST

Last Updated on Monday, 31 December 2018. 7:50 PM PST

Dayton Wilson's routine drug taking is over when heroin is overtaken with fentanyl, but normal walking and talking are also part of his past while fighting drug-related brain injury associated with thousands of deaths.

Wilson, 24, last time abused the drug for the last time in August 2016 at Vancouver Downtown Eastside, according to his mother, but does not remember anything about the day he was taken to the hospital.

It was the first of two buildings where he spent three months learning a few steps and saying some words.

According to the latest data from Canada's Public Health Agency, from January 2016 to June 2018, over 9,000 people have been mortally transmitted across the country. British Columbia Coroner's services recorded almost one third of these deaths.

But there are no comprehensive statistics for people who have survived the effects of opioid damage to the brain. Doctors say the information is necessary to understand the size of "forgotten" victims of opiate crises and provide care and resources to become more functional.

More than two years after speaking, physical and professional therapies, Wilson speaks stubbornly and is difficult to understand. He paused before answering the question of what he could think of after being transferred to St.'s Hospital. Paul in the emergency car.

"I do not remember this, but I did not breathe about five minutes," he said for a time when he believed his brain had been deprived of oxygen.

While the conversation may be frustrating, the one he most regrets is that he is unable to repent, one of his passions.

"My condition is now difficult," he said, adding that he sometimes falls back and shakes his head.

Wilson said he began experimenting with drugs at the age of 15 years before becoming heroin dependent two years later. The brain damage he had experienced at age 21 helped to understand the power and effects of his life-changing addiction.

"I really like the person I created," he said for his own sake. "I just do not like what's done to me."

His mother, Valerie Wilson, stated that she and her ex-husband refused to allow their son to live with them as he continued to overeat in their homes even after treatment while worrying about the effects of his addiction on other children.

The impact of the final overdose was difficult for the family.

"He was trying to eat and was like watching a serious Parkinson's patient," Wilson said to see his son at the hospital. "He shivered and could not keep food on the jaw."

Wilson said he knew little about the consequences of brain injury to those who survived the opiate crisis.

"One thing I hear a lot is," At least you still have it. "A lot of times, like," Well, actually, no, I do not know. I have his version. "

She said her son was a railroadman who would walk by steel beams high in the air, and now he does not want to go to the edge of the rocks on the seashore because he could fall.

Wilson's family has been trying to find community programs and support groups for him, but the only available services for people who are dealing with unrelated issues, including a stroke affecting older people, said his mother.

"He wants to be a member of the society," she said, adding that her son recently had a part-time job as a cleaner at the Kamloops hotel where she now lives with her father.

"Going to work is important to his self-esteem, and now that he has this job, where he really does clean the toilets, he loves it."

McDonald's daughter Tracey McDonald, who is now 44, was prescriptive opioid-dependent for decades after endometriosis diagnosis when she was 14 years old. After the first and only overdose in July 2017, he had brain damage.

"Endometriosis was so painful to literally fall on the floor," McDonald said of his daughter, who started buying a doctor for methadone, OxyContin and Percocet, and eventually went through treating addiction at the advice of a family doctor.

She returned and overturned, suffering from brain damage that had affected her speech and left her dependent on the wheelchair, her mother said.

"When people hear that it is caused by overdose with fentanyl, then it's pretty bad and it's unfortunate," McDonald said of his daughter who lives with her parents.

Dr. Adam Peets, a physician at the intensive care unit at St. Paul, where Wilson initially cured, said that brain cells could be affected in just 30 seconds after someone overdose and the level of damage may vary from mild to severe,

It is estimated that 25 to 33 percent of patients received JIL due to complications from allergy drugs such as fentanyl and karfentanil, but there is currently no way to adequately collect this information, Peets said.

Electronic health records include patient diagnosis when they are received, he said.

But some of these people can be diagnosed with shock or something indeterminate in an emergency, and brain injury will later be diagnosed with later laboratory tests, which, he said, was recorded on a special system.

"It's uncomfortable, frankly," Peets said on the lack of data on brain injury caused by overdose that he would like to see on the national level. "This is something the whole health system needs to work better."

Without data, it is impossible to evaluate resources used in hospitals or how community resources can best be utilized, Peets said.

"How can we tailor the way we do business without the best information that would help make these decisions, such as staffing or going to government and saying," See how many patients are overdose and have chronic brain injury. We must do more primary prevention and secondary prevention or fund rehabilitation after discharge.

St. Paul will be among the hospitals in Vancouver to introduce a new electronic health records management system in 2019 to better collect data, but will not be simplified across the country where multiple systems are used, he said.

Dr. Patricia Daly, chief medical officer at Vancouver Coastal Health, called the "tragic" lack of brain injury data caused by overdose because neither the patients nor their families receive the necessary support.

"We are focused on death, but we forget that there is another group of people who are negatively affected, some of them seriously affected."

Nicholas Gnidziejko, the director of operations for clinical database for the Canadian Institute for Health Information, said that national statistics on brain damage associated with the overdose crisis required the development of standards for data collection in a consistent and comprehensive way, but there is no system in any province.

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