Fraser Health expands opioid addiction treatment

published on September 11, 2017 by Neil Corbett in Maple Ridge-Pitt Medows News

Already Fraser Health’s latest initiatives to combat the overdose crisis appear to be working in Maple Ridge.

The health authority is improving access to front-line treatment for opioid addiction through medications Suboxone and methadone with new clinics in Maple Ridge, Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Mission, Langley and Burnaby.

The program started at Alouette Addictions in mid-July, and enjoyed an 80 per cent boost in the number of clients, up to 170 to start September.

There is a broad range of people who suffer from opioid use disorders, and Dr. Victoria Lee, chief medical health officer, cautioned against a stereotype of opioid users as street-entrenched addicts.

She noted that 70 per cent of the people who die of drug overdoses are in private residences or their own home.

“People think of one kind of user, but it ranges quite a bit,” she said.

Many would rather grapple with their problem on their own, rather than admit they are addicted.

“The underlying issue is stigma and shame,” said Lee. “This is a medical condition like any other.”

She said having 170 people undergoing treatment in Maple Ridge is a healthy number.

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