A supervised drug consumption site has opened in Lethbridge, Alta., after the city recorded more than 54 overdoses in recent weeks, some from what police are calling a potent batch of a dangerous street opioid. A injection kit is seen inside the newly opened Fraser Health supervised consumption site is pictured in Surrey, B.C., Tuesday, June 6, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Feds ease restrictions on prescription heroin to address opioid epidemic

The government is making it easier for patients to access prescription heroin and methadone in its fight against the opioid crisis.

The government is making it easier for patients to access prescription heroin and methadone in its fight against the opioid crisis.

Forthcoming legal changes will allow people suffering from opioid-use disorder to access prescribed heroin outside of a hospital setting, such as addiction clinics, making it easier for them to balance their treatment with daily responsibilities.

The government is also making methadone treatment more accessible, allowing health-care practitioners to prescribe and administer the medicine without needing to apply for an exemption from federal law.

Related: How can we change the public discussion on drug addiction?

Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor says removing barriers to treatment is crucial to combat what her department describes as a national public health crisis that continues to devastate families and communities.

Related: Vancouver Island university develops program to help kids cope with overdose crisis

Health Canada estimates more than 4,000 people died in 2017 as a result of the epidemic.

Last month’s federal budget earmarked $231 million to improve access to treatment, address stigma and gather data on the opioid crisis.

The Canadian Press

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

Island riders conquering new heights

With no races, cyclists tackle Everest challenge to lift community

Saanich police search for suspect accused of using stolen credit, debit cards

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers says suspect made numerous fraudulent purchases

Homeless woman sentenced to 18 months in jail for selling drugs to Victoria police officer

Officer paid $20 for a substance consisting of heroin, fentanyl and caffeine

Family restaurant to hold Saturday fundraiser for Beirut blast

Wrap and Roll will donate all sales to victims of blast

Police looking for witnesses of alleged assault in Burnside Gorge’s Cecila Ravine

Concerned woman pushed to the ground, had phone broken while taking a photo of a dog

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

Vancouver Island team takes on wacky challenges of world’s largest scavenger hunt

Greatest International Scavenger Hunt taking place Aug. 1-8

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Aug. 4

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read