Event: Briefing and Q&A with addictions specialists from five European countries that offer heroin-assisted treatment for chronic opioid users.
Date/Time: Friday May 26, 12:45 – 1:30 p.m.
Telephone dial-in information:
Long Distance: 1-877-385-4099
Participant Passcode: 34160#
- Robert Haemmig, Switzerland
- Nicola Metrebian, United Kingdom
- Uwe Verthein, Germany
- Inge Birkemose, Denmark
- Wim van den Brink, The Netherlands
- Eugenia Oviedo-Joekes, Canada
Please note: Vancouver organizers Eugenia Oviedo-Joekes and Dr. Martin Schechter are available for interviews in advance of the symposium.
British Columbia is in the midst of an overdose crisis. In the past 15 months, there have been more than 1,200 overdose deaths. Given the seriousness of the situation, the Provincial Health Officer declared a public health emergency in April 2016.
In many European countries, heroin-assisted therapy has been an accepted treatment for chronic opioid users for decades. Providence Health Care’s Crosstown Clinic in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside is the only North American facility to offer medical-grade heroin and a licensed opioid analgesic called hydromorphone to chronic opioid users who haven’t benefitted from conventional treatments. Crosstown’s approach is supported by years of research.
Six addictions specialists from the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Canada will be in Vancouver to share their countries’ experiences with heroin-assisted treatment, also known as injectable opioid-assisted therapy (iOAT).
A media briefing to hear about the treatment models in Europe has been arranged. The specialists will discuss the successes and failures of their models as well as the social and economic outcomes of heroin-assisted treatment.
Read about the event here.
The Symposium is sponsored by UBC’s School of Population and Public Health in the Faculty of Medicine; Providence Health Care; Vancouver Coastal Health and the BC Centre for Disease Control.
Quick facts: heroin addiction treatment models
- Switzerland has 21 clinics (and a program in prison) that offer injectable/oral heroin together with methadone, buprenorphine, and morphine.
- In the United Kingdom, prescription heroin for addiction treatment has been legal since 1926.
- Germany conducted a clinical trial in 2002 that was the largest randomized control group study to investigate supervised heroin treatment.
- Denmark is the first country to open heroin assisted treatment clinics without conducting its own clinical trials.
- In the Netherlands, the majority of medical heroin use is by inhalation, not injection.
- Canada has the only supervised heroin-assisted treatment clinic in North America at Providence Health Care’s Crosstown Clinic in Vancouver.
B-ROLL: Providence Health Care’s Crosstown Clinic
Other B-Roll available upon request