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.

Just Posted

Kelly Janveaux announces her candidacy for School Board Trustee

A long-time youth advocate, this will be Janveaux’s first time running in a public election

Mt. Hicks fire 15% contained, continues to burn north of Agassiz

The fire, suspected to be caused by a vehicle with a flat tire, not threatening any structures

UPDATE: Anonymous tip leads DFO night patrol to Fraser River poachers

Charges pending after poachers arrested at night while fishing, 48 sockeye, harbour seal seized

Chilliwack is home to Sasquatch, the first Canadian-designed hops plant

Created by Hops Connect, the Sasquatch hop is the country’s first patented hops plant

Retro meets modern design with idea for iconic Paramount sign

Proposed Paramount Project plans for downtown Chilliwack unveiled Monday

B.C. wildfires 2018: Hazy skies impacting crews in spotting new fires

18,000 people are on an evacuation alert, with 3,000 homes under an evacuation order

Minister optimistic after 2 days of Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Canadian and U.S. officials met in Nelson Wednesday and Thursday to discuss future of the treaty

Man dies in B.C. police cell while awaiting court hearing

An independent investigation is underway after a man died while in Penticton police custody Aug. 16

RCMP appeal for tips, dashcam footage in German tourist shooting west of Calgary

The Durango crashed into the ditch after the shooting near the Goodstoney Rodeo Centre

2 nurses attacked at B.C. psych hospital, union calls for in-unit security

PHSA says that in-unit guards would do more harm than good

Former B.C. optician won’t be jailed for sexually assaulting minor

Kenneth Pilkington sentenced to 24 months’ probation for offence three decades ago

Police responding to ‘unfolding’ incident in Maple Ridge suburb

Helicopter, dog team, guns drawn and 16 police vehicles at Maple Ridge property

Red Cross now accepting donations for those impacted by B.C. wildfires

The Canadian Red Cross is asking for help now and in the weeks and months ahead.

1954-built trolleybus hits Vancouver roads for 70th anniversary

TransLink to offer free rides on a retrofitted electric trolley bus to commemorate anniversary

Most Read