Hooked! Tales of Addiction . . .

1982: I graduated with my medical degree from Western University.

1983 - 84: An exciting year in a specialized program of the time - known as a Mixed Medical Internship - spending four months in pediatrics, four months in neurology and four months in hematology / oncology.

Of the many excellent mentors that I had at the time - one made a comment that still plays often in my mind. Dr. Bruce Barton predicted to me that "the greatest change that you will see in your career - will be a shift away from doctors treating disease - to doctors treating symptoms."

Dr. Barton was referring to one of the controversies of the time. For decades prior to the 1980's - narcotic - or opiate drugs were prescribed only to persons near to the end of their life - or to those recovering from accidental or surgical trauma. But is was during the early 1980's that oxycocet - a drug that at the time was considered a highly potent narcotic - came on the market as an option for the management of other pain conditions. London's academic centres have been at the epicentre of this movement - from its inception to the present day.

There were no methadone prescribers - or clinics - anywhere in Southwest Ontario when I graduated from medical school in 1982. Who would have thought that thirty years later - I would have full time work that did not exist here when I graduated.

1984 - 88: Resident in Psychiatry, University of Toronto. Chief Resident at the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry in 1987 - Chief Resident at The Toronto Hospital in 1988. Four exciting years training with the best of the best.

1989 - 92: Mary Early Research Fellow (Canadian Mental Health Foundation) in 1989 and 1990. Assistant Profession in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto. Psychiatrist with the Toronto Multiorgan Transplant Program - and active with the Consulation Liaison and Psychosomatic Medicine Program groups.

1992 - 98: Consultation Liaison and General Hospital Psychiatry at St. Joseph's Health Care in London, Ontario. Clinical Associate Professor, Western University. Chief of Mental Health Services, St. Joseph's Hospital 1997 - 98.

1998 - 99: Personal and family issues accumulated - and my efforts at self treatment failed - resulting in my absence from work for about one year. During this time I managed to complete the twenty-eight day rehab program at Homewood in only eighty-one days. I then lived for one year at St. Stephen's Recovery House here in London - attending to countless recovery support groups in this community.

1999 - 2000: I briefly returned to work as a psychiatrist in London hospitals - quickly realizing that I would rather pull each of my fingernails out one by one - than to continue in such employment. Fortunately for me - I found an alternate opportunity that allowed me to shortly resign from all university and hospital appointments.

2000 - 2008: A collegue of mine had eighty people wait listed for methadone treatment in his office. I completed the CPSO training program for this work - and immediately found it highly rewarding. I developed a clinical model for working with these clients.

2002 - 2008: The clinical model that I had develped for working with methadone clients was adopted by a newly planned facility - and I became Associate Director of Clinic 528 in London, Ontario - responsible for clinical program design and client education resources.

From the opening of Clinic 528 on August 22, 2002 - we have had thirty to sixty new clients fall in our front door requesting treatment - each month of every year since to the date of this writing in the spring of 2013. We now provide an efficient and effective program of treatment to fourteen hundred and fifty regular clients.

The huge number of clients coming forward for methadone treatment in this region is a direct consequence of the escalating availability of prescription painkiller type drugs in this community - often prescribed with careless disregard of their true potential for complications. Over ninety percent of the thousands of patients I have seen this past decade have been in trouble with prescription opiate drugs prescribed by a doctor working in this community - to some person living in this community.

2008 - 2013: I resigned my position as Associate Director of Clinic 528. My clinical time is now spent on the second floor of 528 Dundas - where I contine to provide long term support for about four hundred and seventy clients who have successfully used the 528 program to reclaim their lives from opiate drug addiction.

2012: Combining my professional expertise and role with SupportNet Studios Inc. - I helped to design and implement a facility wide reorganization of the 528 treatment program - adopting an electronic medical records sytem for all clinical work - redesigning our work processes and staffing model - and integrating SupportNet resources with our day to day work educating clients on the nature of their health condition - the priciples and ways of health recovery.

2013: Enjoying the benefits of the reorganization - just passed my CPSO Practice Review - working on SupportNet's new graphic novel series 'Hooked!: Tales of Addiction - Sometimes Recovery' - maintaining my focus on client education - in awe of all that I have had opportunity to witness these thirty years since graduation.