TORONTO, May 15, 2019 /CNW/ - The opioid crisis continues to be one of the most serious public health issues in Canada's recent history. Tragically, between January 2016 and September 2018, 10,337 Canadians lost their lives to an opioid-related overdose. Increasing access to treatment and harm reduction options,
Today, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, announced that people seeking treatment for severe opioid use disorder will have access to two new treatment options.
Health Canada has approved injectable hydromorphone for use as a treatment for severe opioid use disorder in adults. Diacetylmorphine was also added to the List of Drugs for an Urgent Public Health Need following a request by Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam. This action makes it possible for all provinces and territories to import this drug for the treatment of opioid use disorder. Evidence clearly shows that these medications can help stabilize and improve the health of some patients, including increasing their retention in treatment programs.
Health Canada's instructions on how injectable hydromorphone is to be used are clear that it should be administered only under the supervision of a physician experienced in the treatment of severe opioid use disorder and trained in injectable opioid agonist therapy in accordance with provincial or territorial professional requirements and guidelines, as applicable.
Minister Petitpas Taylor also announced 33 new initiatives to develop educational resources for health practitioners on safer opioid use and effective treatments, control infectious diseases among people who use opioids, and provide effective evidence-based treatments and practices for people with opioid use disorder.
The new treatment options and investments in new projects are an important part of the Government of Canada's efforts to expand access to safer alternatives to the contaminated illegal drug supply for people at risk of overdose, to provide Canadians with access to innovative treatment options, and to support provincial and territorial health systems and healthcare professionals in treating Canadians with opioid use disorder.
"Problematic substance use is a treatable medical condition and recovery is possible. However, we know that existing treatments do not work for everyone. Today's announcement provides people with opioid use disorder access to two new evidence-based treatment options. This, along with the important work being carried out by the funding recipients, is part of the Government of Canada's efforts to support those most affected by the opioid crisis here in Ontario, and across the country."The Honourable Ginette Petitpas TaylorMinister of Health
"Expanding the availability of diacetylmorphine, or pharmaceutical-grade heroin, for opioid agonist treatment will help save lives. Expanded availability means the drug can now be imported anywhere in Canada for healthcare professionals to use in the treatment of severe opioid use disorder, providing more options to support patients with opioid use disorder." Dr. Theresa TamChief Public Health Officer
"The newly announced funding from CIHR will support our research on the Ontario Naloxone Program for Pharmacies, a provincial program that allows pharmacists to provide take-home naloxone at no charge to residents of Ontario, including individuals at high risk of overdose and death. By evaluating this program and its impact, we'll be able to provide insight into this strategy for all governments looking for evidence-based policies to support harm reduction. The support from CIHR will help inform how we tackle opioid-related overdose and death through a multi-faceted approach."Dr. Tony AntoniouScientist, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael's Hospital
Backgrounder: Addressing the opioid crisis through innovative treatment options and investments in frontline projects and researchCIHR Funding Decision: Evaluation of Interventions to Address the Opioid Crisis competition
Canada.ca/Opioids Injectable Hydromorphone Product Information Access to Drugs in Exceptional Circumstances Federal action on opioids Opioid-related harms and deaths in Canada Canada's response to the opioid crisis: Interactive map
SOURCE Health Canada
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