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

Nelson has West Kootenay’s cheapest gas prices

The cost rises significantly outside the city

Selkirk students pay it forward with pizza

The adult special education program is buying slices for those in need

Dance Fusion: ‘smooth, entertaining and emotional’

250-dancer showcase includes a piece by a group of young dancers and their fathers

Nelson figure skaters visit Enchanted Forest

The club held its annual year-end show on April 15

PHOTOS: Nelson Rhythm Ropers skip to success at provincials

The team won 56 medals last weekend at L.V. Rogers

VIDEO: B.C. man recognized for spinning basketball on toothbrush

Abbotsford man holds world record for longest duration of time of 60.5 seconds

Former Social Credit MLA dies at 88

Lyall Hanson was mayor of Vernon in 1981 and moved to provincial politics from 1986-96

Ailing health care biggest hurdle for Okanagan jail

PART SIX: Inmates reportedly wait weeks for broken bones to be seen, challenges with maintaining medical staff

Police searching for escaped prisoner in B.C.

Ralph Whitfield Morris, 83, is serving a life sentence for second-degree murder

B.C. set to introduce pot laws, but years of fine tuning likely: minister

Legislation regulating recreational marijuana is expected to be introduced Thursday

Canadian driver uses lawn chair as driver’s seat, gets caught

Ontario police detachment caught the male driver during a traffic stop

B.C. moves to restrict pill presses in opioid battle

Minister Mike Farnworth says federal law doesn’t go far enough

VIDEO: Vets, volunteers set up vaccination station for sick bunnies

Volunteers, vets try to stop spread of lethal virus

Most Read