FIGHTING OPIOID ADDICTION
VANCOUVER – Vancouver Coastal Health says it is developing a first-of-its-kind guideline as the health authority takes the lead in fighting opioid addictions. The guideline is aimed at improving physicians’ knowledge of the many new treatments available for addiction to painkillers, in hopes of stemming the growing problem of fentanyl or other opioid overdoses. Health authority spokesman Dr. Evan Wood says doctors are advised to begin treatment with a range of new, less toxic opioid replacements before trying methadone, which is effective but has many side effects. The guideline also underlines the importance of recovery programs, recommending that initial treatment is not complete if follow-up care is absent.
Addict advocacy group From Grief to Action applauds the recommendation, adding counselling supports are vital to recovery, especially if the patient is younger. A spokeswoman for the B.C. Association of Persons on Methadone also backs the new guideline, saying educating doctors about the multitude of options for addiction treatment is a great start because each patient requires a tailored approach.