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

Gak 4 Cops for Cancer

The Gitwangak team raised over $10,700 for pediatric cancer research and Camp Goodtimes.

North BC Ale Trail features Smithers

After filming in Smithers in July, North BC Ale Trail is ready to sell a trip to the Bulkley Valley.

BV Concert Association back for 57th season

Bulkley Valley Concert Association season starts Oct. 4 and has limited season tickets on sale now.

‘Skinny’ houses could alleviate shortage

Proposal made by Smithers and District Chamber of Commerce to add affordable housing.

Chief Wah Tah K’eght leaves a legacy

Chief Wah Tah K’eght (Henry Alfred) from Witset was reported to have passed away on Sunday morning.

VIDEO: Rare close encounter with whale pod spotted off B.C. waters

Pod of southern resident orca whales breach within arms length of whale watchers

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Dead B.C. motorcyclist was member of group that raced down mountain road

Some group members record their rides on Strathcona Parkway and post times to page

Indigenous athletes in spotlight at BC Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery to feature Carey Price, Kaila Mussel and Richard Peter

B.C. couple who went missing on flight from Edmonton named by family

Family released a statement Wednesday saying they’re still intent on finding the two-seater plane

VIDEO: A close look at what you were breathing during the B.C. wildfire season

Electron microscope images show soot and tar particles generated by worst B.C. fire season

B.C. woman donates $250,000 to ovarian cancer research for friends

Two of Patty Pitts’s friends passed away from the disease within a year

B.C. could provide clues as to how New Brunswick electoral results shake out

Premier Christy Clark faced a strikingly similar scenario following the province’s 2017 election

Ottawa working to iron out kinks in public alert system

The alerts are being credit with saving lives during last week’s tornadoes

Most Read