Drug users say methadone formula switch contributed to B.C.’s opioid crisis
published on September 4, 2017 by Camille Bains in Globe and Mail
Drug users trying to quit heroin are gathered for a meeting in Vancouver with one mission in mind: to support each other through the struggles of a reformulated treatment drug they say hasn’t worked and has instead contributed to the opioid epidemic.
Brad Williamson, 34, sits on a couch with other members of the B.C. Association of People on Methadone as they discuss how a “forced” switch to Methadose drove many to relapse on heroin.
He says the new formula was 10 times stronger but didn’t last as long before withdrawal symptoms kicked in and left him “dope sick.”
Williamson says he became hooked on heroin after suffering chronic leg and knee pain from 15 years as a flooring installer but entered a methadone treatment program from 2011 to 2013 before returning to using the opioid.
When he restarted treatment in 2014, British Columbia no longer offered the drug that a pharmacist would mix daily for patients from its powdered form into a sweet orange drink. A new cherry-flavoured liquid replacement called Methadose wasn’t as effective, Williamson says.
“Before, even if I missed a day or even two or three days on the old methadone, I would be fine but now if I miss one day I am in full-on withdrawal,” he says. “On the old stuff, I was able to work and pay my rent. On the new stuff I feel like a slug and I can’t keep a job.”View the full article