Substance Use News May 2019


Substance Use News provides a snapshot of news and resources for those working to support folks who use substances. We share pieces on the social, medical and political responses to the opioid crisis, from advocacy to welcome change. See our Drug Use and Overdose Response page for resources on overdose services, team resilience, governmental reports, policy recommendations, and more.



Saving Lives: Harm Reduction & Overdose Prevention Sites with Marilou Gagnon
Marilou Gagnon is a nurse, a professor, and a tireless harm reduction worker who is part of an inspiring movement in Canada which literally saves lives. In this episode of Stop and Search, we talk about pop-up overdose prevention sites, a new way of preventing people dying in Canada and Marilou is at the forefront of this new frontier.


Canadian Centre on Substance Use Launches New Website
The new website from the Canadian Centre on Substance Use includes publications in both English and French; a dedicated news section that highlights CCSA News, CCSA in the News (media interviews), Addiction News Daily and CCSA’s podcast, The Evidence, and more.


Physicians Get Addicted Too
Lou Ortenzio was a trusted West Virginia doctor who got his patients—and himself—hooked on opioids. Now he’s trying to rescue his community from an epidemic he helped start.


Violence against women is overlooked in its role in opioid epidemic
While progress has been made to address intimate partner violence among women who use drugs, those with opioid use disorders who experience partner violence are still in dire need of help in navigating and engaging in substance use treatment programs and other services. Our research found that many men with substance use disorders often undermined their female partners’ recovery. They can control their ability to engage in treatment, deny them potential sources of protection, and jeopardize the custody of their children to maintain control over them and, for some men, have women take care of them.


‘There really is no safe opioid’: Study finds tramadol isn’t a less addictive painkiller
American researchers found that tramadol, an increasingly prescribed post-surgery painkiller that was thought to be less addictive than other opioids, is actually every bit as dangerous.


Small communities grapple with ‘huge challenge’ of opioid crisis
The problem plaguing Arnprior — a town of 9,000 — is shared by small communities across Canada, according to 2017 data presented late last year by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), indicating they in fact have hospitalization rates for opioid poisonings more than double those in Canada’s largest cities.


Living exposed in Saskatoon as HIV and Hep C rates rise
HIV and hepatitis C infections are rising at a distressing rate in Saskatchewan and Saskatoon’s inner-city community is one of the hot spots. Needle sharing for injection drug use is now the leading cause of infection.


Research study evaluates safety of take-home drug checking kits 
Vancouver Coastal Health, Interior Health, and the BC Centre for Disease Control are collaborating on a new research project providing people who use substances with take-home drug checking kits to determine if people can use them safely on their own. The take-home kits are available at select overdose prevention (OPS) and supervised consumption sites (SCS) in Vancouver. Interior Health has several sites including in Kamloops, Cranbrook, Merritt, Nelson, Kelowna, Penticton and Vernon.


Interior Health introduces new treatment option brings hope for those with significant opioid addiction
As part of its response to the ongoing overdose crisis, Interior Health has introduced a new evidence-based treatment option for those with severe opioid addiction. Injectable Opioid Agonist Treatment, or iOAT, is now available through a clinic in Kelowna’s Community Health Services Centre on Doyle Avenue.


CBSA given new powers to seize chemicals used to make illegal opioids
The federal government has announced amendments to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to allow certain law enforcement agencies, including the Canada Border Services Agency, to stop what’s known as precursor chemicals from being brought into Canada and then used to make deadly fentanyl and amphetamines, such as methamphetamine and ecstasy.


How Technology Is Rapidly Advancing Overdose-Resistant Bathrooms
Innovative designers are playing their part to help mitigate historic overdose levels, bringing safety interventions to the public restrooms where injection drug use is already occurring.


These parents went into debt to get their children private, long-term drug treatment
Some parents of drug-addicted children are cashing in retirement savings, remortgaging houses and sinking into debt to pay for privately run, long-term drug treatment. It’s an expensive gamble, but one they are driven to take after growing frustrated with the lack of publicly funded treatment programs that extend longer than 28 days.


Life expectancy fell in BC in 2017 for the second year in a row, especially for young men between the ages of 20 and 44. Canadians concerned about young adults dying from overdoses should demand drug-policy changes by “holding politicians’ feet to the fire,” said addictions specialist Dr. Keith Ahamad. “It’s absolutely mind-blowing,” he said, adding Indigenous people are disproportionately affected by the overdose crisis.


Learn More

Visit our Drug Use and Overdose Response page



Questions? Feedback? Get in touch! Janet Madsen, Capacity Building  and Knowledge Translation Coordinator, [email protected]






Image: Focus by Andrew, Flickr (Creative Commons)