Major’ fixes for Ontario’s addiction battle
published on October 12, 2016 by Terri Coles in Yahoo News
Ontario is unleashing an arsenal in its fight against opioid addiction, the province’s ministry of health and long-term care announced Wednesday.
Among the changes, Suboxone will be rolled out as a first-line treatment for addictions as an alternative to methadone.
In an emailed statement, addiction specialist Dr. Evan Wood called the increased Suboxone use an “evidence-based decision.”
“Suboxone is safer than alternative medications and is much more flexible and safer for take-home dosing than methadone,” said Dr. Wood, the interim director of the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use.
“(It) will contribute to major improvements in addiction care in Ontario,” he added.
Opioid-related overdoses and deaths have increased considerably in several parts of the country over the past two years, particularly in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario.
It is difficult to know just how many deaths are related to opioid overdose across the country because there is no national database tracking them, and reporting guidelines vary across provinces and territories.
There is also no accounting of national numbers on emergency-room visits due to opioid overdose.
The province also announced:
- Expanded services for pain treatment, including 17 new chronic pain clinics
- The appointment of Dr. David Williams as the province’s first provincial overdose co-ordinator
- A new province-wide system for reporting opioid-related overdoses
- Plans to make overdose antidote Naloxone available free of charge for patients and families, as well as outfitting first responders with the nasal-spray formulation