The worst agony of my life to absolutely normal’

published on January 28, 2017 by Wendy Stueck in The Globe and Mail

B.C. is leading the way on the use of suboxone to treat opioid addiction, but progress elsewhere has been slow and uneven, reports Wendy Stueck

When Caity showed up at St. Paul’s emergency room last October, she was in rough shape.

The young woman – The Globe and Mail has agreed to not use her last name – was at the time living on the streets in Vancouver and addicted to illicit drugs, including heroin and pills likely laced with fentanyl.

She said she wanted help. ER staff called Dr. Mark McLean, who was on call for St. Paul’s Rapid Access Addiction Clinic, which runs out of a small room one floor above the ER.

Dr. McLean said Caity should come back to see him at St. Paul’s the next morning when she was in full-blown opioid withdrawal, so he could start her on Suboxone, the trade name for a pill composed of buprenorphine and naloxone.

That’s what happened – in large part because her parents, who’d come to Vancouver to help her, made sure she came back on time. Now, three months later, Caity is sober, living with her parents and taking a daily dose of the treatment, which she says has transformed her life and given her hope for the future.

She wants other people to have the same chance.

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