Prescribing safer alternatives to potentially deadly street drugs saved lives: B.C. study

published on January 11, 2024 by Camille Bains in Vancouver Is Awesome

VANCOUVER — Researchers in British Columbia have published a study that suggests prescription opioids prevent overdose deaths among people with an addiction to potentially toxic street drugs.

They found that those who were prescribed at least one day’s supply of opioids were 55 per cent less likely to die from overdose in the following week when compared with a similar group without a prescription. Those who had a four-day or longer prescription cut their risk of death by 89 per cent.

The study focuses on prescribing guidance that British Columbia introduced in March 2020 for people who could fatally overdose during the pandemic as they sought a diminishing supply of illicit substances and risked COVID-19 transmission.

British Columbia is Canada’s only jurisdiction to launch such a policy amid an ongoing public health emergency that has claimed more than 13,000 lives in the province since 2016 due to overdoses fuelled by drugs contaminated with fentanyl…

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