B.C. mulls framework for expanded heroin-assisted treatment

Prescription heroin, a last-resort treatment for severe addiction currently restricted to only one clinic in all of North America, could one day be dispensed at pharmacies much as methadone is.

The dispensation model is one of three proposed in a draft of B.C. guidelines for the expansion of supervised injectable opioid-assisted treatment (siOAT) obtained by The Globe and Mail.

The document, being prepared by the nascent BC Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU), is a first-of-its-kind in North America and reflects the centre’s push to provide a wide range of options for people struggling with substance use. Opioid-substitution therapies such as methadone and buprenorphine-naloxone (Suboxone), taken orally, are the most commonly prescribed medications for people with severe opioid addiction, but those who do not respond to these first-line treatments have few other options.

Andrea Woo reports

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