Federals taking steps to make it less difficult for people with addictions get treatment


The federal government is making it easier for doctors to prescribe methadone and heroin to make it less difficult for people with addictions get treatment.

Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor made the announcement Monday morning in Ottawa at the Shepherds of Good Hope, a homeless shelter that offers programs to drug addicts.Right now health care providers, from physicians to pharmacists, must apply for an exemption to prescribe, sell or provide methadone with approval from Health Canada.

Now, the federal government will introduce regulatory amendments to lift this requirement and allow health care providers to administer methadone treatment without an exemption.

The government is also planning to loosen restrictions around how to, and who can, prescribe pharmaceutical heroin, or diacetylmorphine, a drug often used to treat pain in a hospital setting.

But it has also been known to help people with addictions who do not respond to other types of treatment, such as methadone and naloxone.

The federal government plans to introduce changes to the regulations that will allow heroin to be prescribed outside of a hospital, perhaps in treatment facilities or substance use disorder clinics.The changes will also allow nurse practitioners to prescribe the drug if they are allowed to under provincial laws.

Petitpas Taylor also announced $18 million to fund substance abuse and addictions projects and research programs. The projects will explore drug checking in supervised consumption sites, opioid use in pain management and how opioid-related treatment can better address the needs of women.