Providence In The News

Tent city at Oppenheimer Park grows, unimpeded

First Nations elder Stella August tosses a few cedar needles on a smoking fire pit in the centre of Oppenheimer Park in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. It’s morning prayer time, but only a few people in the park join her around the sacred blaze.

Nearby, a few people chatter around a picnic bench, while a woman walks through the park carrying a bowl of fish heads. Slowly, people start to emerge from makeshift homes—a mess of pup tents and tarps covering nearly every square inch of grass on the plot at Powell and Dunlevy.

Fact vs fiction: Rona Ambrose’s laughable claims about Conservative ‘evidence-based policy’

In a recent speech to the Canadian Medical Association, Health Minister Rona Ambrose said something no cabinet minister ought to have to say out loud: that her boss, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and his government are firm believers in evidence-based policy.

Ambrose claimed that “at the end of the day, for policymakers like me, it’s the medical science and data-based evidence that must guide our decisions on health sector regulation and allocation of resources.”

The long road to prescription diacetylmorphine in British Columbia

The 2014 holiday season in Canada is set to mark the arrival of a very different sort. Approximately 200 opiate addicts in British Columbia will receive legally prescribed laboratory-manufactured Heroin all the way from Europe. After a long drawn out legal battle over the right to access this treatment, prescription heroin (or diacetylmorphine), is on track to be legally available to eligible patients by the end of the year; just in time for Christmas.

How did this landmark decision in Canadian addiction treatment become possible? Let's take a look back …

Syphilis rates soar in Vancouver, testing urged for gay and bisexual men

Syphilis rates continue to soar in Vancouver, prompting the latest warning for gay and bisexual men to get tested for the sexually transmitted disease.

Public health officials say men who have sex with men are at the highest risk of infection.

Vancouver Coastal Health says residents around the Richmond and Vancouver areas are especially vulnerable, with 86% of the 561 new syphilis cases reported in BC last year being diagnosed within the health authority.

Unprecedented effort to improve men’s mental health

Two months before comedian Robin Williams ended his life, a photo exhibit called Man-Up Against Suicide was drawing in audiences at the Foster Eastman art gallery in downtown Vancouver. 

The riveting exhibition featured the photographs of 25 men and women who have been shaken by male suicide. The display was funded by the Movember Foundation, the international men’s health initiative best known for its November moustaches campaign. 

Group of BC addicts to receive heroin by Christmas, lawyer says

A group of Vancouver drug addicts is slated to become Canada’s first recipients of legally prescribed heroin by Christmas.

As many as 202 patients should receive the laboratory-manufactured heroin from Europe by the end of the year, their lawyer said Thursday.

“I think there’s a sense of relief,” said Adrienne Smith, the health and drug policy lawyer with the Pivot Legal Society that represented five heroin addicts from Vancouver’s downtown East Side.

Canada is experimenting with a prescription drug the US wouldn't dare touch

Heroin. In a move that's sparked debate across the Canadian health industry, 202 addicts are poised to receive the nation's first-ever shipment of legal prescription diacetylmorphine—commonly known as heroin.

Straight reports the long-vilified opiate will be available at the Crosstown Clinic in East Vancouver, British Columbia.

There's a catch, of course: Only users who participated in a three-year treatment study launched in 2011, called the Study to Assess Long-term Opioid Maintenance Effectiveness (SALOME), will be eligible to receive it.

Life Lessons: Evan Wood

Evan Wood, an addictions and HIV-AIDS expert, is a professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia and co-director of the Urban Health Research Initiative at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.

Wood has spent his career in two intense areas: the highly competitive world of scientific research and the often combative realm of political advocacy. As the principal investigator of Insite, Canada's first legal injection site, he has fought for acceptance of the harm-reduction model of treating addiction.

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.

Pam Owen, beaten mental health worker, doesn't blame attacker

A health-care worker who was brutally attacked by a psychiatric patient at UBC hospital says she doesn't blame her attacker, while Vancouver Coastal Health has been fined $75,000 for failing to protect her.

Recreational therapist Pam Owen was choked, beaten and punched by the male patient in 2012. Two and a half years later, she is still on painkillers for severe whiplash and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.


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