B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

  • Jan. 17, 2019 10:29 a.m.

A first-of-its-kind opioid addiction treatment program, first piloted in Vancouver, will soon roll out across the rest of the province as B.C. grapples with nearly 2,800 overdose deaths since 2017.

In a news conference Thursday, members of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and Vancouver Coastal Health released results from a one-year pilot program that took strategies used to combat AIDS and implemented them on the streets of downtown Vancouver to combat opioid addiction.

The BOOST collaborative, which stands for Best-practice is Oral Opioid agoniSt Therapy, involved teams of medical providers and staff regularly checking on 1,000 patients to ensure they didn’t miss their daily treatment, despite their unregimented lifestyles and other barriers that prevent them from getting to their daily appointments.

The BC Centre for Excellence, also known as the BC-CfE, in HIV/AIDS has been recognized worldwide for its “treatment as prevention” strategy to reduce HIV and AIDS.

“The BC-CfE applied lessons from its proven effective HIV strategy, which drove a steady and consistent decline in HIV and AIDS, to address the urgent opioid overdose crisis affecting individuals and families provincewide,” said the centre’s senior medical director Dr. Rolando Barrios.

“Small-scale improvements in care, implemented through the work of VCH health care teams, created major positive impacts on the lives of those affected by opioid use disorder. We can now apply these concepts to every region in B.C.”

More to come.


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