Canada's first batch of prescription heroin expected in Vancouver by December

Despite delays, a group of Vancouver addicts is on track to become the first recipients of prescription heroin in Canada before the end of the year.

Adrienne Smith, a lawyer with Pivot Legal Society, told the Straight that regulatory and bureaucratic hurdles have been “complex” and a “slow process,” but that Providence Health Care is confident it has secured all permissions required.

“They expect to be in a position to order the medication any day now,” Smith said in a telephone interview. “And then it takes 55 days to ship, so it’s expected to arrive at the end of the year.”

Prescription heroin or diacetylmorphine will be available at the Crosstown Clinic in the Downtown Eastside. In accordance with the terms of an interlocutory injunction, only former participants of an academic study called SALOME will be eligible to receive the drug as a treatment for severe opiate addictions. There are 202 such individuals.

Travis Lupick reports

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