Observational Prospective Study of Injectable Opioid Agonist Treatment
The iOAT Study


The ongoing opioid overdose public health emergency has highlighted fundamental gaps in substance use treatment services. There are a limited number of opioid agonist therapies (OAT) and established options like methadone or buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone®) do not work for everyone. There is strong research evidence and clinical experience to show that injectable opioid agonist treatment can be effective option for people with opioid use disorder. With the release of a provincial guidance document in late 2017, clinical iOAT programs are expanding around the province.


The iOAT Study is a provincial evaluation to assess short and long-term client-based outcomes over a five year follow up period through client interviews, urine drug testing and linkage to data held in a range of health and social databases. A parallel qualitative study will provide additional information from interviews with both clients and services providers.

This study aims to generate practice-based evidence for the provision of injectable opioid agonist treatment, in real time as the province scales up treatment within diverse clinical models of care. Key objectives include evaluation of:

  1. service utilization and treatment trajectories
  2. impacts on immediate harms associated with injection opioid use
  3. health and social outcomes

Study findings will inform health system policy and practice to ensure the most effective, timely and client centered scale up of clinical programs across the province and Canada - as part of the provincial response to the current overdose crisis, as well a new option within the continuum of care for opioid use disorder.


The iOAT Study is governed by a provincial Advisory Committee that includes the BC Centre on Substance Use, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, Overdose Emergency Response Committee, Regional Health Authorities, community groups and people who have taken or are taking iOAT.



The iOAT Study has been reviewed and approved by the UBC PHC Research Ethics Board (Reference #H17-01794).


  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • Ministry of Health


Interested in finding out more about the iOAT Study or taking part yourself?

Phone or text: 604-649-9451

Email: [email protected]

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