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B.C. report recommends treating certain opioid addicts with injections

BC Centre on Substance Use releases guidelines for those for whom other methods haven’t worked

The hundreds of people who have died from illicit drug overdoses in B.C. in the past two years has pushed the province to develop new guidelines for injectable opioids.

The BC Centre on Substance Use released a report Thursday, outlining how injectable treatment should work.

The province has stressed that injectable opioids are only meant as a treatment option for people for whom less extreme methods like buprenorphine, used in conjunction with naloxone, methadone, and slow-release oral morphine had not worked.

The report recommends hydromorphone, an opioid used as a pain reliever, as the drug of choice.

Patients undergoing injectable treatments must be aware, and able to commit to, multiple clinic visits per day and be able to self-administer the injection under medical supervision.

The centre recommends a maximum of three doses per day, not exceeding 500 mg total.

The report did not make recommendations for youth, but said doctors should use their “best judgement” when working out a treatment plan for those under 18 years old.