Thank you, Mr. Speaker. About a month ago my colleague from Mackenzie Delta talked about healthcare in our small communities. He mentioned something that I've heard about before myself; people bringing their concerns to the health centre, only to get sent home with Tylenol pills. It left me wondering not only if people are getting the care they need, but if they're getting the advice they need when it comes to drugs like Tylenol?
Because Tylenol is a common brand and easy to get, and because it's not like other kinds of painkillers like Advil or Motrin, which can hurt the stomach, you might think that it's pretty harmless. But there are still some pretty serious risks, and I'm concerned that these risks aren't well enough understood.
The main ingredient in Tylenol, as well as many other painkillers, allergy medications, and sleeping aids, is acetaminophen. It breaks down in your body, and one of the by-products is a substance that's highly toxic to the liver, even more so if you've been drinking alcohol. If you take more than you're supposed to, take it for longer than you're supposed to, or drink too much before or while you're taking it, the health consequences can be serious; liver damage, liver failure, or even death, although those cases are rare.
I recognize that we need to take charge of our own health, which means reading dosage instructions and finding out how new medication might interact with current medication. That's good common sense.
Mr. Speaker, my challenge is the kind of direction people in our small communities might be getting from staff at the health centres. These staff have a great deal of authority on their side, and it can be very intimidating to question a nurse or doctor, or to ask for a different option when offered a simple painkiller. Even if you do ask, you're not guaranteed to get the help you're looking for. There was a case like this in Wrigley last fall, and we know from the work that the Department of Health and Social Services is doing on cultural safety that many people in the Northwest Territories often just don't feel safe or respected in our own healthcare system.
I'd like to find out more about the policies and practices in place around the use of these kinds of drugs in our health centres, so I'll have some questions for the Minister later today. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.