Amid ‘horrific’ spike in opioid deaths, doctors call for decriminalization, regulation of drugs

published on July 24, 2020 in CBC Radio - Day 6

With opioid overdoses spiking during the coronavirus pandemic, two doctors say decriminalization is crucial to preventing deaths.

According to Dr. Keith Ahamad, an addictions physician in Vancouver, relying on doctors to provide “safe supply” prescriptions doesn’t go far enough.

“Most health-care professionals and physicians and addiction doctors do believe that we have to do something on the drug supply side, but we don’t think it’s the job of doctors to prescribe these medications when there’s no research to support us doing it,” said Ahamad.

“We find it irresponsible of the government to download what really is their job — to regulate the drug market.”

Physicians in B.C. were given the go-ahead in March to prescribe drugs like methadone and hydromorphone to certain patients in an effort to prevent overdoses, particularly during the COVID-19 crisis. By June, more than 1,300 people had accessed the drugs…

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