British Columbia is saving lives by giving drugs to opioid-addicted prisoners

published on June 23, 2017 by Paul Webster in National Observer

British Columbia is dramatically expanding a key drug treatment program in prisons, winning praise from experts who say jails are important venues for reducing drug-related crime, overdoses, and transmission of HIV and Hepatitis C.

In Ottawa, federal prison officials now face growing calls to follow B.C.’s lead.

“We’ve been waiting for this for decades, Senator Kim Pate, a veteran prisoner rights advocate who is now part of a Senate investigation into federal prison conditions, told the National Observer. “At this point we’re still seeing little more than talk.

Thomas Kerr, director of research at the BC Centre on Substance Use, praised Rothon’s leadership in dramatically expanding OST to address this crisis. He described OST as a therapy that helps addicts stabilize and permanently overcome opioid dependency.

“It’s a great move, he said in an interview. “And one that is long overdue.€

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