Keeping opioid users alive

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I am sick of my friends dying from preventable opioid overdoses.

Opioid use disorder is a medical condition and should be treated as such. We don’t force people with diabetes to buy contaminated insulin off the street, so why do we force people with opioid use disorder to buy fentanyl-contaminated opioids off the street?

According to the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), from January to June of this year, 742 people have died in BC from unintentional illicit overdoses. Of those 742 overdose deaths, 81 percent involved fentanyl, an opioid that is 100 times stronger than morphine and extremely toxic at low doses. Opioid users aren’t typically looking to use fentanyl—rather, the opioids and other drugs they buy off the street are laced with it.

To save hundreds of lives, we should supply non-contaminated, pharmaceutical-grade opioids to opioid users. Currently, the BCCDC is piloting a program that provides hydromorphone to people at risk of overdose. Hopefully, the program will become widespread across this province. It’s the compassionate thing to do. Opioid users can’t seek help if they’re dead.

Rest in peace, Sam and Alan.