B.C. quietly allowing some methadone patients to revert to previous treatment amid relapses, overdoses

published on November 1, 2019 by Andrea Woo in Globe and Mail

British Columbia is quietly allowing some methadone users to switch back to an old formulation of the treatment five years after a new version it had adopted led to relapses and overdoses for some patients.

The province switched to the new formulation, called Methadose, in February, 2014, saying it was supposed to be safer. But patient advocates said it was not as effective for some patients in keeping withdrawal symptoms at bay. Many went back to using street drugs at the same time fentanyl began supplanting the illicit opioid supply, fuelling a crisis that has killed more than 5,000 people in B.C. since.

“People absolutely died as a result of this change,” said Garth Mullins, a drug-user activist, host of the podcast Crackdown and a member of the B.C. Association of People on Methadone, which has lobbied for a return to the old formulation. “How much did it contribute to the overdose crisis?”…

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