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Home / canada / Drug users, advocating fear federal choice, can sideline safer opioid policies Regional | News

Drug users, advocating fear federal choice, can sideline safer opioid policies Regional | News

VANCOUVER – Co-founder of a national group of parents whose children have died of overdoses fears that the impending federal election will track any policy changes that could give a safer access to opioids a priority, even as the country's leading public health officer has pledged to review such a plan .

Leslie McBain of Moms Stop Harm said the addiction to abuse has not worked because drug users continue to use the black market to access fentanyl-laced substances that have killed thousands of Canadians.

"When it comes to implementing a secure supply policy, it leads to the people who need it in an environment where they can then be offered different forms of treatment. It keeps them alive. It requires courage to make it a step towards recovery. says McBain, whose 25-year-old son was overdosed five years ago.

"I think the federal government is trying to do the right thing, but in an election year the Liberals don't want to do anything that can further affect their base."

McBain, who advocates families with BC Center for Substance Use, says Canada's health needs to provide the public with information about the process involved in a safer opioid review of Canada's top public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, who announced in December she will collect data from provinces and territories.

"We are committed to exploring additional options to create the conditions for a safer access to opioids," the agency said in a statement and adding to its work is "ongoing".

Last week, the British College's mental health and abuse minister Judy Darcy urged the federal government to "open a brave conversation" on safer opioids.

The Ministry says it expects to respond to the federal government's information request for its review by the end of April.

Pharmaceutical class heroin has been provided since 2014 at the Crosstown Clinic in Vancouver, the only facility in North America, but the program requiring users up to three injections per day under the supervision of nurses can accommodate only about 100 patients at a time and has not sufficiently expanded since BC declared an emergency for public health 2016.

Dr. Scott MacDonald, senior physician at Crosstown, who also offers the injectable form of opioid hydromorphone, said there was no reason why British Columbia could not increase access to the program, which estimated 500 anchored drug users needed back in 2013.

"Of course there is a need for expansion, not just in Vancouver and British Columbia but across the country," he said. "And that can be part of the safe supply."

However, he said that pure heroin or diacetylmorphine must be imported from Switzerland and the health of Canada has not allowed it to be produced domestically.

MacDonald said that injectable opioids have been available in B.C. since more than 3,000 people have died in the province since the emergency was declared three years ago.

"I don't understand the delay," he said.

"This is not a partisan question. It is about caring for people who are at risk of overdose and death and have not responded to any other treatment. It only needs to be made available," he says. Adding diacetylmorphine is an option for five to eight percent of drug users.

Three clinics in British Columbia offer injectable hydromorphone, two have made it available in Alberta – one in Calgary and Edmonton – while Ottawa has a facility, MacDonald said.

B.C .: Psychiatric Health and Mission Ministry said it is collaborating with the health authorities "to expand injectable hydromorphone therapy as quickly as possible as an additional tool to support people with opioid use."

Jordan Westfall, President of the Canadian People's Use of Drugs, says the expanded addiction treatment programs have been "too modest" a response, and it is evident in British Columbia, where the interrogator's service recently reported 1,489 people who were overstated 2018, slightly higher than the previous year.

"It shows that government direction and policy were ineffective," said Westfall. "It sounds politically much nicer to say we need treatment. This is a systemic issue and no treatment will change that fact. People will continue to die."

Shanelle Twan, who is a member of the same network in Edmonton, said the group is planning a nationwide action day in April to draw attention to the need for safer opioids.

"Something must happen quickly, but it just seems that everything is moving in a glacial pace right now," she said. "It is unfortunate that politics must come into play when talking about the ordinary canad's life."

Donald MacPherson, executive director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, said not giving legal opioids to people who have "disease" dependence is "barbaric".

MacPherson, who was the Vancouver Vancouver 2000-2009 drug policy coordinator, said we started in the spring planning his coalition to launch a three-year campaign to educate people across the country on drug policy.

He said that when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been criticized for saying no to decriminalize drugs, movement on that issue would not solve the problem of toxic drugs that have killed thousands of Canadians.

– Follow @ CamilleBains1 on Twitter.

Camille Bains, the Canadian press

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