Trailblazers 2019: Dr. Christy Sutherland pioneers opioid substitution with hydromorphone in Vancouver

published on May 22, 2019 by Travis Lupick in Georgia Straight

The winter of 2016 was a scary time in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Overdoses were occurring at a frightening pace.

Dr. Christy Sutherland’s patients were especially at risk. As a staff physician for the nonprofit Portland Hotel Society (PHS), she provides care for an especially vulnerable group. Many struggle with both mental-health and addiction issues. And with the dangerous synthetic opioid fentanyl replacing heroin, using street drugs was more dangerous than ever before.

If her patients were going to use drugs no matter what—if many were simply not ready to try for abstinence—how, Sutherland asked herself, could she minimize their risks?…

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