Fraser Health expands access to opioid subsitute

Methadone and suboxone used as a substitute for illicit drugs that may contain fentanyl

  • Dec. 17, 2016 5:00 a.m.

There have been 28 illicit drug overdose deaths in Abbotsford through Oct. 31

by Owen Munro, Abbotsford News

Fraser Health will expand access to methadone and suboxone at Abbotsford Community Services as it looks to address the opioid overdose crisis in one of the most affected cities.

Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST) replaces illicit drugs with a longer acting opioid like methadone and suboxone, and is typically administered in a supervised setting. According to Fraser Health’s chief medical officer Dr. Victoria Lee, it has been proven to relieve the symptoms of withdrawal and can reduce high-risk behaviours.

“There’s evidence that shows opioid substitution should be first on the line of treatments,” Lee said.

“A lot of people think of detox as being first on the line, but detox sometimes has the highest risk for overdoses because you become naive to the opioids you’re using.”

The expansion of the services was announced alongside two new supervised injection sites that will be opened in Surrey, another area that has been hit extremely hard by fentanyl overdoses. Lee also noted that Fraser Health has looked at whether a supervised-injection site would be feasible in Abbotsford.

But some are casting their doubts about whether this will do anything to curb the rampant trail of destruction fentanyl is leaving.

Abbotsford Police Const. Ian MacDonald said he’s unsure whether the announcement will have a profound effect, given that it still comes down to people buying illicit drugs that have high toxicity.

“My fear is that the fentanyl, and all of the analogues of it, are in such great abundance that those potential counter-measures may not have the impact people are hoping for,” MacDonald said in an email.

Abbotsford has been of the hardest-struck communities in 2016, seeing 28 deaths through Oct. 31. Figures from November have not yet been released.

Erica Thompson, an outreach worker for the Warm Zone women’s outreach centre, said any news about expanding treatment options for drug users is good news. Thompson is a former heroin user who has previously been in a methadone treatment program and believes it can be advantageous in helping people wean themselves off of drugs such as heroin.

“Any initiative like this is something that I support and something that is desperately needed,” Thompson said. “There’s a lot of stigma around addiction that can be erased.”

Lee agrees that the stigmatization around addiction and overdoses are not conducive to a proper dialogue, saying OST would be a huge lifeline for people who desperately need help.

 

Just Posted

ABBY ELECTION HUB: Everything you need to know in one spot

Interviews, Q&As, info on how to vote, stories on the issues and candidate bios all in one place.

New bus route to ‘replace’ Greyhound along Trans-Canada Highway

Rider Express Transportation says they will soon begin a bus service from Winnipeg to Vancouver

Man who fled cops and dumped truck at golf course pleads guilty

Incident in January involved arrests by Mission and Ridge Meadows RCMP

Voting basics: How, where and when to vote on Oct. 20

Polls will be open for 12 hours this Saturday as Abbotsford picks a new mayor and council

Few women and young faces among candidate crowd

Abbotsford candidates for mayor and council representative – and not – of city’s population

VIDEO: Applelooza 2018 at Abbotsford’s Lepp Farm Market

Fifth annual event celebrates apple harvest

Boeser tallies in OT as Canucks beat Penguins 3-2

Vancouver wins without star rookie Pettersson

U.S. pot firm urges Trump to deny Canadian producers ‘competitive advantage’

The challenge for U.S. firms lies in the fact that while recreational cannabis is legal in nine states and medicinal pot in 22 others, it remains illegal under federal law

Mayor of Kamloops says ‘history has been made’ with vote on B.C.’s lone pot shop

The store to be run by the province in B.C.’s Interior is opening Wednesday as pot sales become legal across Canada

Government says imprisoned Canadian terror suspects must face consequences

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale showed little sympathy Tuesday for such individuals who now want to return to Canada

How rules for inmate segregation in Canada will change under Bill C-83

Federal government proposing changes to rules around inmates in federal correctional institutions

UPDATE: B.C. man who swam naked with sharks arrested

David Weaver, of Nelson, will face mischief and assault charges

Canada Post union issues strike notice; rotating strikes could begin Monday

Union says rotating strikes will begin if agreements aren’t reached with bargaining units

Most Read