Battling a fentanyl crisis, B.C. quietly expands access to clean drugs that addicts can substitute for heroin (Crosstown Clinic)

The Portland Hotel Society (PHS) has quietly forged ahead with a lifesaving but controversial tool that could help alleviate Vancouver’s fentanyl crisis.

In December 2016, Dr. Christy Sutherland began prescribing hydromorphone to one patient who for many years struggled with a severe addiction to heroin.

Injectable-opioid-agonist treatment has been available in Europe for decades. It is prescribed to treat long-time addictions where people have repeatedly failed with more traditional treatments such as methadone. But Sutherland is one of very few doctors in North America to prescribe hydromorphone for the treatment of an addiction. The first was Dr. Scott MacDonald, who works at Crosstown Clinic, which is located just down the street from PHS, at the intersection of East Hastings and Abbott streets.

Travis Lupick reports

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