World’s first opi­oid pill pro­gram opens in city’s Down­town East­side

StarMetro Vancouver - - NEWS - JEN ST. DE­NIS More on the pro­ject at thes­tar.com/van­cou­ver

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.

STARMETRO

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.

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