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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP request public’s help in locating missing Salmon Arm man

Ken Derkach is a familiar face to many, one of the city’s residents who is without a home

Drunk man on dirt bike among May motor vehicle calls for Chase RCMP

Other calls resulted in excessive speed tickets and the arrests of two prohibited drivers

Playgrounds to reopen across the Okanagan on June 1

After nearly two months closure, playgrounds are set to reopen

Property tax bills now on their way to Salmon Arm homeowners

COVID-19 delayed mailing slightly, deadline extended but council hopes residents will pay by July 2

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

Booze on Kelowna beaches? Mayor says ‘not at the moment’

Mayor Colin Basran says alcohol in public spaces is not on council’s radar right now — but that could change

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

VIDEO: Police look for suspect seen tripping elderly woman in Burnaby

The elderly woman was walking near the SkyTrain station when she was randomly tripped

Summerland amends procedure for virtual council meetings, adding transparency

During COVID-19 pandemic, meetings have been held using online technology

Motor trike crashes into hole in Kelowna

A man was taken to hospital after crashing his trike on Anderson Road

Serious vehicle incident closes Highway 97 near Falkland

DriveBC says an assessment is underway; delays expected

Most Read