Canada authorizes new drug consumption rooms

February 6, 2017

Canada's health minister on Monday approved opening North America's first new drug consumption rooms in more than a decade, in an effort to contain the opioid overdose crisis.

Health Minister Jane Philpott granted a request from Quebec province's public health agency to set up three sites in Montreal's downtown Hochelaga-Maisonneuve and Ville-Marie neighborhoods.

"Supervised consumption sites have shown positive results in Canada as well as in other countries," Philpott said in a statement.

"Disease transmission and decrease, and infections, emergency room use and hospital admissions in relation to injection drug use are reduced."

The first North American consumption rooms, also known as supervised injection sites, were established at a clinic in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside neighborhood in 2003 under a special exemption from federal drug possession and trafficking laws.

Until now it had remained the only facility on the continent where addicts could receive medical supervision as they injected heroin illegally bought on the street.

Ottawa, Toronto and several other Canadian cities are also considering opening their own sites.

Vancouver's Insite clinic serves about 700 drug users a day, according to staff.

Health professionals for years have urged expanding the number of consumption rooms nationwide. Most neighborhoods have rejected them, however, and critics said public monies would be better spent on more detox and treatment.

In December, faced with soaring fentanyl overdose deaths, the federal government removed legal hurdles to opening new supervised injection sites.

The coroner in westernmost British Columbia, which is at the epicenter of the opioid crisis, reported 914 "apparent illicit " in 2016—a 79.2 percent year-over-year increase.

Fentanyl-related deaths accounted for two-thirds of the total, it said.

Explore further: Canada to ease drug consumption room rules as opioid deaths rise

Related Stories

Canada to ease drug consumption room rules as opioid deaths rise

December 12, 2016
Facing a growing opioid crisis, Canada's Liberal government on Monday removed hurdles to opening new drug-consumption rooms while expanding its fight against narcotics trafficking at the border.

Canada opioid deaths reach new monthly high

December 19, 2016
Deaths from drug overdoses in November hit a new high in Canada's British Columbia province, epicenter of a raging national opioid crisis, health officials said on Monday.

Canada faces deadly fentanyl overdose crisis

January 3, 2017
Sirens scream non-stop through the urban heart of Vancouver, as responders race toward drug addicts overdosing—and dying in such numbers that the city's morgues are full.

Opioid abuse in Canada a 'national health emergency': minister

November 18, 2016
Deaths from opiate overdoses in Canada have become a "public health crisis" that could prompt the government to declare a national health emergency, the Canadian Health Minister said Friday.

Canada province declares fentanyl overdoses a public health emergency

April 15, 2016
A spike in the number of fentanyl overdose deaths in Canada's westernmost British Columbia province has prompted authorities to declare a public health emergency.

Overdose deaths down 35 percent after opening of Vancouver's supervised injection site: study

April 18, 2011
Illicit drug overdose deaths in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside dropped by 35 per cent after the establishment of Insite, North America's first supervised injection facility, according a new study by researchers at the University ...

Recommended for you

Discovery opens door for synthetic opioids with less addictive qualities

June 1, 2018
Making opioids from sugar instead of from field grown opium poppies has the potential to solve many of the problems associated with manufacturing strong pain killers.

US doctors prescribing fewer opioid painkillers: report

May 31, 2018
US doctors reduced the number of prescriptions for opioid painkillers last year, continuing a five-year trend, in an effort to reverse a deadly drug abuse epidemic, a report released Thursday said.

Researchers publish study on new therapy to treat opioid use disorder

May 22, 2018
Better delivery of medications to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) is key to addressing the opioid crisis and helping the 2.6 million Americans affected by the disease.

Could nonprofit drug companies cut sky-high prices?

May 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Generic prescription drugs should be cheap, but prices for some have soared in the United States in recent years. Now a group of U.S. hospitals thinks it has a solution: a nonprofit drug maker.

Fewer antibiotics for kids, but more ADHD drugs

May 15, 2018
(HealthDay)—American kids are taking fewer prescription medications these days—but certain drugs are being prescribed more than ever, a new government study finds.

Opioid makers' perks to docs tied to more prescriptions

May 14, 2018
Doctors who accept perks from companies that make opioid painkillers are more likely to prescribe the drugs for their patients, new research suggests.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.