Vancouver Coastal Health applauds move to ease prescription of heroin

published on March 27, 2018 by Jeremy Lye and Simon Little - CKNW in Global News

The chief medical health officer at Vancouver Coastal Health is applauding a pledge from Ottawa to make access to prescription heroin and methadone easier.

Federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said Monday that the Liberal government would allow for the prescription of heroin outside of a hospital setting, along with legal changes to make methadone more accessible.

Currently, Vancouver is home to a single pilot project offering prescription heroin at the Crosstown Clinic in the Downtown Eastside (DTES).

But with a growing recognition that the opioid overdose crisis is as present in suburban communities as it is in highly visible places like the Whalley Strip and the DTES, Dr. Patricia Daly says the new rules could save lives.

But she acknowledged the changes might not be easy for everyone working in health care.

“I know that in Vancouver we’ve reached out to physicians who are prescribing methadone and suboxone across our health authority, we’ve encouraged them to support our colleagues who may not feel as comfortable offering this treatment, we’re prepared to offer support,” Daly said.

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