Urgent need for injectable addiction treatment in B.C.: addictions minister

published on October 11, 2017 by The Canadian Press in The Province

VANCOUVER — British Columbia’s addictions minister has asked health authorities to move quickly to increase use of an injectable drug that could save the lives of chronic substance users who haven’t responded to treatment with oral medication.

Judy Darcy says hydromorphone is urgently needed for people struggling with addictions and that its use as part of clinical practice would be the first in North America.

The B.C. Centre on Substance Use released a report Wednesday providing guidelines on the use of hydromorphone, which is currently prescribed at one Vancouver clinic, where some patients are treated with pharmaceutical heroin.

A landmark study in 2016 showed that the painkiller hydromorphone is just as effective at treating heroin addiction as pharmaceutical heroin for people who have failed at recovery using methadone or suboxone.

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