World’s first opioid pill program opens in city’s Downtown Eastside
A Vancouver non-profit is opening a safe drug supply program that is the first of its kind in the world, as frontline workers warn of the latest batch of frightening overdoses to hit the city’s Downtown Eastside.
“Increased heart rate, flailing and chest pain occurred during the ODS,” Coco Culbertson, manager of programs for Portland Hotel Society, wrote on Twitter on Monday. “Give naloxone. Seek witness, buddy up and text your dose!”
Addictions experts say this is why it’s necessary to expand programs that hand out pharmaceutical-grade opioids to people who haven’t responded to other addiction treatments and continue to use street drugs.
Statistics collected to November 2018 showed 1,380 people in B.C. died of drug overdoses, which means the province is on track to match 2017’s total.
PHS will offer Dilaudid pills today at an overdose prevention site at Hastings and Main St. The program is the brainchild of Dr. Christy Sutherland, the medical director for the Portland Hotel Society. In a previous interview, Sutherland said the lower-dose tablets mean patients can choose when they come in and tailor the dose to their own needs.
An opioid pill program opens at an overdose prevention site in the Downtown Eastside. It will provide pharmaceutical-grade opioids as an alternative to risky street drugs.