‘Safe Supply’ of Rx Opioids Saved Lives in British Columbia

published on January 16, 2024 by Pat Anson in Pain News Network

Prescribing opioids and other medications to people with substance use disorders significantly reduces their risk of dying, according to a large new study in British Columbia. The findings add weight to efforts to create a “safe supply” of legal medications for patients at risk of an overdose from increasingly toxic street drugs.

Vancouver, British Columbia was the first major North American city to be hit by a wave of overdoses involving illicit fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid. That led Vancouver to become a laboratory for harm reduction programs and safe supply sites offering prescription opioids and injectable heroin to drug users.

How effective have those programs been?

A study by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, recently published in the British Medical Journal, found that prescribing opioids, stimulants and anti-anxiety medication to nearly 6,000 drug users dramatically reduced their risk of death…

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