The State of Safe Supply

published on June 20, 2023 by Jen St. Denis and Michelle Gamage in The Tyee

Before Brian O’Donnell was prescribed the opioids hydromorphone and methadone by his doctor, he used cocaine, heroin and fentanyl to manage chronic pain from injuries he sustained earlier in life.

“If I didn’t have access to tested, safe drugs I’d probably be dead, just like a lot of my friends,” O’Donnell says.

O’Donnell, who lives in Vancouver, accesses British Columbia’s prescribed safer supply program, where clinicians prescribe pharmaceutical alternatives to illicit drugs in order to separate people from the dangerous illicit market.

It’s a program that users, doctors, advocates and researchers say saves lives, but it has also come under fire: Conservative Leader Pierre Poillievre recently introduced a motion in the House of Commons in May to end the program, saying it was fuelling addictions to opioids…

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