Keynote Presentation

Getting to Zero: Tapering Off Opioids

When opioids first arrived on the health care scene as a reasonable treatment option for immediate pain management, there was little to no foresight on the impact of high opioid dosages and the inexorable reliance patients would have on them. Today there are hundreds of thousands of Canadians seized by the scourge of opioid dependency. In many cases there are alternatives to opioids in treating non-cancer pain, accompanied by recovery success stories.

Kirk Foat is one of these success stories. Introducing Kirk, a man who suffered a traumatic ordeal while on vacation in the Caribbean; his badly injured hand was saved through surgery, but unknown to him at the time, his real challenges were just beginning. After years of taking OxyContin and Pregabalin for pain as prescribed, the side effects became more of an issue. Kirk’s incredible journey of recovery will have you on the edge of your seat – evidence that life is possible after opioids.

Kirk’s journey focuses on how he was successful at getting to zero opioid use, how he navigated the health care system and shocked his doctors by formulating an opioid tapering plan.

Even with Kirk’s own personal success in tapering off opioids, nobody should have to go through such a challenge on their own. By sharing his story with doctors, health care practitioners and government policy makers he is educating care providers on how to support patients like him to reduce or stop taking opioid medication.

What to Expect

Kirk Foat will share his compelling story, accompanied by his wife Anna Foat, for Thrive’s 2018 keynote address to OCA members and special guests. Through sharing his experience in rehabilitation and years of addiction to high dose opioids, Kirk believes he can provide lessons for positive change that will help inform health care practitioners, as well as give hope to patients.

Interactive Q&A

As part of the presentation, there will be an interactive, moderated Q&A at the end, facilitated by Dr. Raquel Marques; a chiropractor who has worked with patients like Kirk, at CPM Centers for Pain Management in Scarborough. With a decade of experience in chronic pain management, she has collaborated with physicians and anesthetists who also specialize in this area. Dr. Marques’ role as moderator will help to unlock insights into how chiropractors can be a vital support to patients using opioids from a multidisciplinary perspective of pain management.

Kirk Foat, Patient Expert

Kirk Foat is a patient with a story to tell about how tapering off opioids and getting to zero is possible, even after years on a high dose. He believes that he can provide lessons and lived experience to effect positive change for health care practitioners, as well as give hope to patients.

Kirk works at University Health Network as a patient reviewer of medical papers. He has had the honour of speaking at Queen’s Park to the deputy health minister, LHIN CEO’s, to Health Quality Ontario and numerous nurse practitioners.

Kirk is a graduate at University of Western Ontario (sociology/psychology), and a peer educator for South West Self-Management Pain Program.

Anna Foat

Anna Foat loves the power of possibility and the passion of entrepreneurs. She’s worked at a startup, grown with one of the most famous Canadian scale-ups (and subsequent crashes), and now works for a major financial services firm in Canada, advising the chief transformation officer on digital transformation.

As Kirk’s wife, Anna’s contribution to his journey highlights the importance of support and involvement of family and friends.

She earned a BA in English Literature from the University of Waterloo and now teaches Design Thinking at the University of Western Ontario.


Pricing Category Early Bird*
(Ends Dec 2)
OCA Member $299 $399
OCA New Graduate Member (Class of 2015 to Class of 2018) $179 $279
OCA Student Member (Year 3 & 4) $179 $249
Non-Member $399 $499