Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor in Ottawa on May 16, 2019. (Twitter)

Canada first in the world to approve injectable hydromorphone to treat opioid addiction

B.C. has had one of the only clinics in the country offering such a treatment to a small group of people

Health Canada has approved injectable hydromorphone as the latest option when treating patients with severe opioid use disorder.

Canada is the first country in the world to approve the drug, commonly used for severe pain management, to gain control over the opioid crisis killing three people a day in B.C. alone.

Health Canada said in a news release Wednesday that 10,337 people have died from fatal overdoses since 2016. Roughly 4,000 of those deaths occurred in B.C.

“Increased access to a safe supply of prescription opioids is an innovative tool that will help save lives,” Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said in a statement on her social media accounts.

READ MORE: Inside Crosstown Clinic, the only clinic to offer patients legal heroin

READ MORE: Carfentanil, an opioid more toxic than fentanyl, linked to more deaths in B.C.

In late April, the ministry announced that provincial governments could import diacetylmorphine – prescription heroin – to use as a treatment option, although the drug is not yet authorized to be sold in Canada.

“Studies have shown that injectable hydromorphone and diacetylmorphine are important drugs that can help stabilize and support the health of some patients with severe opioid use disorder, including increased retention in treatment programs,” the ministry said.

“Both of these drugs are used in substance use disorder treatment in other countries with recognized success.”

In B.C., Crosstown Clinic in Vancouver has been the only facility offering these kinds of treatment over the past four years.

As many as 130 patients use prescription heroin at any given time, and are typically “long-term drug users,” averaging about 15 years, who have been through treatment more than 10 times but haven’t seen any success.

Health Canada’s new rules include that injectable hydromorphone must be administered under the supervision of an experienced physician who is trained in injectable opioid treatments.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Rockets host tailgate party ahead of anticipated home-opener

Kelowna takes the ice for the first game of the season Saturday

RBC donates $40,000 to help connect youth with employers

The funding goes towards helping the YMCA Connects program to prepare young adults for the working world

Kelowna city council green lights new park charge

City wants to introduce a new development cost charge to create new parks

Kelowna boy returns to school after recovering from possible Xanax OD

RCMP investigation found the drug to be a form of benzodiazepine, commonly known as Valium or Xanax

FortisBC to offer free energy efficiency assessments for small businesses

Fortis BC wants to help 900 storefronts in Kelowna, Penticton and Rossland

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Nanaimo RCMP officer ‘walks on water’ to rescue lost camper

66-year-old assisted earlier this month by Mounties who can seemingly work miracles

South Okanagan adventure park brightens seniors’ day with flowers

The many flowers that bloom in LocoLanding during the summer brighten the day for seniors

Winnipeg student, killed in bus crash, remembered as passionate, kind

University of Victoria student Emma Machado, 18, was killed in the bus crash near Bamfield on Friday

East Coast comedian Ron James bringing ‘Full Throttle Tour’ to Okanagan

James is at work on the first draft of his first book, ‘All Over the Map’

Mobile needle exchange considered in Okanagan

City looks at options to combat issues of discarded needles

Province investigating eviction at Shuswap assisted living facility

Residential Tenancy Branch looking into situation affecting low-income senior residents

Most Read