Connect with us


Drug-dealing pharmacists are feeding Ontario’s opioid crisis




While this represents just 1.5 per cent of the more than 16,000 pharmacists in the province, the investigation found this even small number of health-care professionals can cause a disproportionate amount of harm to patients and to the public purse.

“Most pharmacists are tremendous people. They’re knowledgeable, they’re extremely helpful and they are an important part of the health-care team. The very small number of pharmacists, or doctors for that matter, who engage in this sort of behaviour, cause a lot of harm,” said Dr. David Juurlink, professor of pharmacology at the University of Toronto.

During those five years, the college sanctioned 15 pharmacists for illegally dealing prescription medication, nine of whom dealt opioids. Health Canada data suggests the actual number could be far greater because there are more drugs missing from pharmacies than prosecutions and disciplinary cases can account for.

Nearly 3.5 million doses of prescription drugs disappeared from Ontario pharmacies from 2013 to 2017, the data shows. And the growth is startling: from about 2,200 reports of drug losses in 2013 to more than 30,000 last year. The vast majority of those losses were dangerous opioids.

For example, annual reported losses of hydromorphone — a opioid five times more potent than morphine — rose from about 21,000 to 63,000 tablets in the five years, totalling more than 200,000 tablets missing from pharmacy shelves.

Three-quarters of reports listed the reason for the drug losses as “unexplained.”

Health Minister Christine Elliott declined an interview request for this story but spokesperson Haley Chazan sent a statement:

“Our government takes patient safety very seriously. The inappropriate use, abuse and diversion of prescription narcotics and controlled substances are very serious public health concerns,” the statement read. “Minister Elliott will continue to work with partners to discuss harm reduction strategies and ensure those struggling with addiction get the help they need.”

While sources of street opioids vary, and most are illegally imported, the morphine, hydromorphone, oxycodone and fentanyl that originates in the health care system is an alarming trend.

Opioid-related deaths in Ontario have almost doubled in the last five years, rising from 639 in 2013 to 1,265 in 2017, according to Public Health Ontario. More than 70 per cent of opioid deaths involve fentanyl, according to federal data.

“It’s quite often the case that people who end up with opioid addiction, who are at a very high risk of death, began with experimentation on a pill that was prescribed to someone else,” Juurlink said. “Aside from being criminal and deeply unethical, a pharmacist who introduces large amounts of opioids into society — or any other drug prone to abuse — is perpetuating harm in a very real way.”

Read more:

Ontario still has not pursued punishment against Costco after its pharmacy directors admitted to illegal payment scheme

Ontario creates ‘emergency task force’ on opioid crisis, but doesn’t declare an emergency

The police investigation into Shaheen found that he trafficked more than 5,000 fentanyl patches with a street value of over $1 million.

Each patch is typically cut into four before being sold to an addict who eats, smokes or injects the contents. And because of its potency, each quarter patch could kill anyone who doesn’t have a high tolerance for opioids.

After discovering that an assistant in his pharmacy had reported the large orders of patches in his store to the college of pharmacists, Shaheen scrambled to cover his tracks.

“The robbery accomplished exactly what Mr. Shaheen had sought. It allowed him to falsely claim that a large amount of fentanyl had been stolen, an amount that he knew had not been taken,” Judge Robert Wadden said at Shaheen’s sentencing.

“As a trained professional, he would have been aware of the debilitating and deadly effects of this drug in the hands of addicts. Yet he conducted a drug trafficking scheme worth over a million dollars, profiting off the misery of others.”

Two days before the robbery, Shaheen met the man to whom he had been selling the patches in a McDonald’s.

“I need your help,” Shaheen told Mehdi Rostaee.

“Can you send somebody to the pharmacy … when I am there?” Shaheen asked. “I will give him whatever I have in the safe,”

“OK,” said Rostaee, whose surreptitious recording of the conversation was entered into evidence during Shaheen’s trial last October. “When do you want to do it?”

“Sunday,” Shaheen responded.

“You’re alone?” asked Rostaee.

“Yeah … We have to be smart and natural about it.”

Ottawa police who arrived the afternoon of the faked robbery in October 2014 described Shaheen as “scared” and “very stressed.”

“He was very nervous, in fear still when I met him,” Det. Guy Seguin said in a recent interview, “to the point where I reached out to our victim crisis unit to call him for a followup, which I never did before in any other pharmacy robbery.”

Seguin was told by Shaheen’s assistants about the large fentanyl shipments, and forged prescriptions for 99 patches per month that Shaheen had filled for Rostaee.

When confronted by police, Rostaee provided a cellphone recording of the McDonald’s meeting. (Contacted by the Star and Global, Rostaee denied carrying out the robbery.)

“Mr. Rostaee’s testimony and co-operation … was a key part of that investigation,” Seguin said after Shaheen was sentenced March this year. “It’s possible that Mr. Shaheen could have gotten away.”

Shaheen is appealing and his pharmacist’s licence has been suspended indefinitely. Rostaee pleaded guilty to forging the fentanyl prescriptions and was given a conditional sentence.

Shaheen declined interview requests, but in an email, his lawyer said he “continues to assert his innocence and is hopeful that his appeal will be successful.”

He isn’t the only Ontario pharmacist who faked a robbery to cover up opioid dealing.

Michael Yamasaki, pleaded guilty this summer to 11 charges related to orchestrating a robbery at his pharmacy in Georgina last year. More than $110,000 of prescription opioids disappeared, for which Yamasaki was supposed to be paid $10,000.

Yamasaki, who did not respond to an interview request, has not been sentenced.

He was caught by old-fashioned police work, which led investigators to the storage space where the stolen drugs had been stashed.

The nine pharmacists caught dealing opioids in the last five years are alone responsible for putting more than 8,000 fentanyl patches — 32,000 potentially lethal doses — onto the street, the investigation found.

Yet drug-dealing pharmacists remain off the province’s agenda, says Allan Malek, vice-president of the Ontario Pharmacists Association, who meets regularly with Ministry of Health officials to discuss the opioid crisis.

“I actually sit on the ministry’s opioid emergency task force,” he said. “There’s been no concern raised at the opioid emergency task force of pharmacists being that conduit … Pharmacy has not hit the radar screen.”

Currently, drug wholesalers are not required to report suspiciously large orders of opioids by pharmacies. While the province has the tools to track every dose of narcotics in the province, it hasn’t caught a single drug-dealing pharmacist.

Since 2012, all narcotics dispensed in Ontario are tracked by the Narcotics Monitoring System (NMS), which was introduced to “identify and reduce the abuse, misuse and diversion of monitored drugs.”

Juurlink says the system is poorly designed and doesn’t update in real time, limiting its usefulness.

“It’s kind of crazy in 2018 that a child can go online and play a video game in real time with somebody thousands of miles away, but a pharmacist in downtown Toronto doesn’t have real-time access to all of the prescription information for the patient in front of him or her from the pharmacy across the street,” he said.

The system will flag when a pharmacist is asked to fill a prescription that has been filled elsewhere. But, “the set of things that has to happen to trigger a flag is a little bit of too high a bar in my view,” Juurlink said.

Chazan, the Health Ministry spokesperson, said the “Narcotics Monitoring System does not monitor pharmacy inventory, and was not established to proactively detect diversion or criminal activity.”

However, the Narcotics Monitoring system handbook states that “the collected data will be reviewed and analyzed by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for a variety of purposes including, … reporting possible criminal conduct to law enforcement agencies.”

While the Narcotics Safety and Awareness Act specifies $50,000 fines to pharmacists and $200,000 fines to pharmacies that input “false or misleading information,” not a single charge has ever been laid, according to a Health Ministry spokesperson.

In the United States, lawsuits have been launched against several drug distributors, including McKesson — which is one of the biggest and also operates in Canada. It agreed to pay $150 million for failing to report suspicious pharmacy orders for opioids.

When Keswick pharmacist Shamik Patel was arrested for dealing drugs in 2014, it was thanks to a police informant.

Yogesh Patel (no relation to Shamik Patel) was particularly creative in his drug dealing methods.

The Woodstock pharmacist, who pleaded guilty last year to stealing 3,000 fentanyl patches and 1,500 hydromorphone tablets, covered his tracks by forging prescriptions for dead people.

He was only caught when he unwittingly walked into a police surveillance operation with a bag full of drugs. Patel had no idea the man he was meeting in a parking lot was being tracked by police.

“They observed Mr. Patel leaving the pharmacy with a bag in which they suspected he was carrying fentanyl from the pharmacy,” said Jim Dean, a London, Ont., lawyer who represented Patel. Until then “he was not on the radar at all,” Dean said.

In fact, the College of Pharmacists assessed Patel’s pharmacy less than a week before he was arrested and gave it a “pass.”

“Those who engage in unlawful conduct often take great effort to conceal their behaviour,” said Todd Leach, a spokesperson for the college, when asked about the successful assessment.

Leach said that the college assessments aren’t designed to find missing drugs but that more detailed assessments will start in 2019.

After witnessing that drug hand-off, police audited Patel’s pharmacy records and found large amounts of fentanyl had been disappearing.

Patel forged prescriptions with names he found in obituaries or just made them up. He also filled out paperwork to show he had transferred large amounts of fentanyl to other pharmacies that never received the shipments.

The college revoked Patel’s licence in July 2017. That September, he was sentenced to 11 years in prison. In his decision, Judge Edward Graham didn’t mince his words.

“Mr. Patel had the highest duty to protect the public. Instead he placed members of the public at great risk of harm … His moral blameworthiness is exceptionally high,” Graham said.

With files from Sarah Bhola, Centennial College, Ryan Moore, Ryerson School of Journalism and Leslie Whyte, Global News.

Robert Cribb is a Toronto-based investigative reporter. Follow him on Twitter: @thecribby

Marco Chown Oved is a Toronto-based investigative reporter. Follow him on Twitter: @marcooved


Source link

قالب وردپرس


Nostalgia and much more with Starburst XXXtreme




Get a taste of adventure with Starburst XXXtreme based on the legendary NetEnt Game. The nostalgic themes are sure to capture fans of the classic version as they get treated to higher intensity, better visuals, and features. The most significant element of the game is its volatility. Patience will not be an essential virtue considering the insane gameplay, and there is a lot of win potential involved. It retains the original makeup of the previous game while adding a healthy dose of adrenaline. 

Starburst Visuals and Symbols

The game is definitely more conspicuous than before. The setting happens over a 5-reel, 3-row game grid with nine fixed win lines, which function if a succession from the left to the right reel is present. Only those players that that attain the highest win per bet line are paid. From a visual standpoint, the Starburst XXXtreme slots illustrates lightning effects behind the reels, which is not surprising as it is inherited from the original version. Available themes include Classic, Jewels, and Space. The game is also available in both desktop and mobile versions, which is advantageous for players considering the global pandemic. According to Techguide, American gamers are increasingly having more engaging gaming experiences to socialize to fill the gap of in-person interaction. Starburst XXXtreme allows them to fill the social void at a time when there is so much time to be had indoors. 

Starburst XXXTreme Features

Players get to alternate on three features which are Starburst Wilds, XXXtreme Spins, and Random Wilds. The first appears on reels 2,3, or 4. When these land, they expand to cover all positions while also calculating the wins. They are also locked for a respin. If a new one hits, it also becomes locked while awarding another respin. Starburst XXXtreme offers a choice between two scenarios for a higher stake. In one scenario with a ten times stake, the Starburst Wild is set on random on reels 2,3, or 4, and a multiplier starts the respin. The second scenario, which has a 95 times stake, starts with two guaranteed starburst wilds on reels 2,3, or 4. it also plays out using respin game sequence and features. The game also increases the potential with the Random Wilds feature to add Starburst Wilds to a vacant reel at the end of a spin. Every Starburst Wild gives a random multiplier with potential wins of x2, x3, x5, x10, x25, x50, x100, or even x150.

The new feature is sure to be a big hit with the gaming market as online gambling has shown significant growth during the lockdown. AdAge indicates the current casino customer base is an estimated one in five Americans, so Starburst XXXtreme’s additional features will achieve considerable popularity. 

What We Think About The Game

The gambling market has continued to diversify post-pandemic, so it is one of the most opportune times to release an online casino-based game. Thankfully Starburst XXXtreme features eye-catching visuals, including the jewels and space themes. These attract audience participation and make the gameplay inviting. The game also has a nostalgic edge. The previous NetEnt iteration featured similar visuals and gameplay, so the audience has some familiarity with it. The producers have revamped this version by tweaking the features to improve the volatility and engagement. 

That is characterized by the potential win cap of 200,000 times the bet. Starburst XXXtreme does not just give betting alternatives for players that want to go big. The increase of multipliers also provides a great experience. If the respins in the previous version were great, knowing that multipliers can go hundreds of times overtakes the game to a new level. 

Players should get excited about this offering. All of the features can be triggered within a single spin. Whether one plays the standard game or takes the XXXtreme spin route, it is possible to activate all of the features. Of course, the potential 200,000 times potential is a huge carrot. However, the bet size is probably going to be restricted and vary depending on the casino. It is also worth pointing out that a malfunction during the gameplay will void all of the payouts and progress. Overall, the game itself has been designed to provide a capped win of 200,000 times the original bet. 

Continue Reading


‘We’re back’: Montreal festival promoters happy to return but looking to next year




In downtown Montreal, it’s festival season.

In the city’s entertainment district, a musical act was conducting a sound check on stage Friday evening — the second day of the French-language version of the renowned Just For Laughs comedy festival. Tickets for many of the festival’s free outdoor shows — limited by COVID-19 regulations — were sold out.

Two blocks away, more than 100 people were watching an acoustic performance by the Isaac Neto Trio — part of the last weekend of the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique, a celebration of music from the African continent and the African diaspora.

With COVID-19 restrictions continuing to limit capacity, festival organizers say they’re glad to be back but looking forward to next year when they hope border restrictions and capacity limits won’t affect their plans.

Charles Décarie, Just For Laughs’ CEO and president, said this is a “transition year.”

“Even though we have major constraints from the public health group in Montreal, we’ve managed to design a festival that can navigate through those constraints,” Décarie said.

The French-language Juste pour rire festival began on July 15 and is followed by the English-language festival until July 31.

When planning began in February and March, Décarie said, organizers came up with a variety of scenarios for different crowd sizes, ranging from no spectators to 50 per cent of usual capacity.

“You’ve got to build scenarios,” he said. “You do have to plan a little bit more than usual because you have to have alternatives.”

Continue Reading


MELS new major movie studio to be built in Montreal




MONTREAL — MELS Studios will build a new film studio in Montreal, filling some of the gap in supply to meet the demand of Hollywood productions.

MELS president Martin Carrier said on Friday that MELS 4 studio construction will begin « as soon as possible », either in the fall or winter of next year. The studio could host productions as early as spring 2023.

The total investment for the project is $76 million, with the Quebec government contributing a $25 million loan. The project will create 110 jobs, according to the company.

The TVA Group subsidiary’s project will enable it to stand out « even more » internationally, according to Quebecor president and CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau. In the past, MELS Studios has hosted several major productions, including chapters of the X-Men franchise. The next Transformers movie is shooting this summer in Montreal.

Péladeau insisted that local cultural productions would also benefit from the new facility, adding that the studio ensures foreign revenues and to showcase talent and maintain an industry of Quebec producers.


The film industry is cramped in Montreal.

According to a report published last May by the Bureau du cinéma et de la télévision du Québec (BCTQ), there is a shortage of nearly 400,000 square feet of studio space.

With the addition of MELS 4, which will be 160,000 square feet, the company is filling part of the gap.

Carrier admitted that he has had to turn down contracts because of the lack of space, representing missed opportunities of « tens of millions of dollars, not only for MELS, but also for the Quebec economy. »

« Montreal’s expertise is in high demand, » said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, who was present at the announcement.

She said she received great testimonials from « Netflix, Disney, HBO and company » during an economic mission to Los Angeles in 2019.

« What stands out is that they love Montreal because of its expertise, knowledge and beauty. We need more space, like MELS 4, » she said.

There is still not enough capacity in Quebec, acknowledged Minister of Finance, the Economy and Innovation Eric Girard.

« It is certain that the government is concerned about fairness and balance, so if other requests come in, we will study them with the same seriousness as we have studied this one, » he said.

Grandé Studios is the second-largest player in the industry. Last May, the company said it had expansion plans that should begin in 2022. Investissement Québec and Bell are minority shareholders in the company.

For its part, MELS will have 400,000 square feet of production space once MELS 4 is completed. The company employs 450 people in Quebec and offers a range of services including studio and equipment rentals, image and sound postproduction, visual effects and a virtual production platform.

Continue Reading
Styles De Vie2 semaines ago

MAPEI Canada inaugure l’agrandissement de son usine à Laval, au Québec

Styles De Vie2 semaines ago

Le Gala Elles reconnaissent célèbre les femmes remarquables de l’industrie de la construction

Styles De Vie2 semaines ago

Préparez votre maison pour l’hiver afin d’éviter les réclamations d’assurance

Styles De Vie2 semaines ago

Quatre façons de commencer à travailler dans le domaine des ventes

Styles De Vie2 semaines ago

La Commission indépendante soutient le recours de la Cour suprême contre le déni des droits des non-francophones par le Québec

Styles De Vie2 semaines ago

Justin Trudeau est un raciste contre les Noirs et les Premières Nations – 14 signes

Styles De Vie2 semaines ago

Enfants aux études loin de la maison : Trois conseils pour veiller à la santé de leurs finances

Styles De Vie2 semaines ago

Règles et règlements que toutes les entreprises canadiennes doivent connaître

Styles De Vie2 semaines ago

Épargnez pour l’avenir grâce à nos trucs financiers pour la rentrée

Styles De Vie2 semaines ago

Efficacité énergétique: 10 façons économiques de l’améliorer

Actualités1 année ago

Ces légendes du baccara vous dévoilent leurs secrets

Affaires2 années ago

Retard de vol : le devoir de la compagnie envers ses passagers

Anglais2 années ago

Nostalgia and much more with Starburst XXXtreme

Opinions2 années ago

Même les jeunes RÉPUBLIQUES se lassent du capitalisme, selon les sondeurs américains — RT USA News

Opinions2 années ago

« Aucune crise climatique ne causera la fin du capitalisme ! »

Opinions2 années ago

Innovation : le capitalisme « responsable », faux problème et vraie diversion

Opinions2 années ago

Vers la fin du Capitalocène ?

Opinions2 années ago

Le “capitalisme viral” peut-il sauver la planète ?

Opinions2 années ago

Livre : comment le capitalisme a colonisé les esprits

Opinions2 années ago

Patrick Artus : « Le capitalisme d’aujourd’hui est économiquement inefficace »

Anglais5 années ago

Body found after downtown Lethbridge apartment building fire, police investigating – Lethbridge

Santé Et Nutrition3 années ago

Comment aider un bébé à développer son goût

Anglais5 années ago

Head of Toronto Community Housing placed on paid leave

Styles De Vie5 années ago

Salon du chocolat 2018: les 5 temps forts

Anglais5 années ago

This B.C. woman’s recipe is one of the most popular of all time — and the story behind it is bananas

Santé Et Nutrition5 années ago

Gluten-Free Muffins

Anglais5 années ago

Condo developer Thomas Liu — who collected millions but hasn’t built anything — loses court fight with Town of Ajax

Anglais5 années ago

27 CP Rail cars derail near Lake Louise, Alta.

Anglais5 années ago

Man facing eviction from family home on Toronto Islands gets reprieve — for now

Santé Et Nutrition5 années ago

We Try Kin Euphorics and How to REALLY Get the Glow | Healthyish

Anglais5 années ago

Ontario’s Tories hope Ryan Gosling video will keep supporters from breaking up with the party

Styles De Vie5 années ago

Renaud Capuçon, rédacteur en chef du Figaroscope

Anglais5 années ago

Ontario Tories argue Trudeau’s carbon plan is ‘unconstitutional’

Anglais5 années ago

100 years later, Montreal’s Black Watch regiment returns to Wallers, France

Mode5 années ago

Paris : chez Cécile Roederer co-fondatrice de Smallable

Anglais5 années ago

Trudeau government would reject Jason Kenney, taxpayers group in carbon tax court fight

Styles De Vie5 années ago

Ford Ranger Raptor, le pick-up roule des mécaniques

Affaires5 années ago

Le Forex devient de plus en plus accessible aux débutants

Anglais3 années ago

The Bill Gates globalist vaccine depopulation agenda… as revealed by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Anglais5 années ago

Province’s push for private funding, additional stops puts Scarborough subway at risk of delays


slot server jepang
judi slot pulsa