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

Your weekly Mountain Minute

This week’s top stories… Continue reading

Highway 1 closed to due fatal accident east of Revelstoke

A dump truck lost control and the driver was ejected

Stetski talks up NDP election platform

NDP candidate for Kootenay-Columbia riding outlines election ‘commitments’ to Canadian voters

UPDATE: Boat sinks in less than a minute on Mitten Lake

A Saturday afternoon at Mitten Lake quickly turned sour for a local… Continue reading

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

Highway 1 closed near Revelstoke

No estimated time for opening

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Most Read