BC’s health experts say the best response to the ongoing toxic drug crisis is to expand the drugs included in the safer supply.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry released a report today reviewing BC’s prescribed safe supply program.
Henry says the program saves lives, adding that recovery doesn’t necessarily mean people quit using drugs.
“The term ‘recovery’ means something very different for many of them,” she said. “It’s not a medical term, but it’s about being able to live in safe housing, to care for their family, to have meaningful employment, regardless of the use of prescribed safer supply or use of OAT [Opioid Agonist Therapy] or use of medications or drugs in general.”
The report recommends expanding the program to provide government-approved sources of fentanyl and heroin. It points out treatment and recovery programs are successful but limited, and difficult to access.
It also acknowledges some prescribed opioids are being diverted and sold, but data is limited.
Henry and her colleagues say government-provided drugs are an ethical way to reduce the harm caused by drug addiction, and one tool in the toolbox to deal with BC’s drug crisis.
“This is a complex public health emergency and there’s no one single answer,” she said. “We have to see this prescribed safer supply as one of the pieces that can make a difference in people’s lives.”
Read the full report here: