For the first time on Vancouver Island, people living with chronic opioid addiction will have access to a new program that provides pharmaceutical grade opioids for injection.
Island Health says the treatment called iOAT (Injectable Opioid Agonist Treatment) will be offered to residents at the Johnson Street Community at 844 Johnson in Victoria.
“Everyone deserves to be supported in finding their own unique pathway to hope and a pathway to healing. For some people that includes medication-assisted treatments like iOAT,” said Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy.
“Adding this life-saving treatment option in Victoria means more people will be able to find the help they need when they need it.”
PHS Community Services Society (PHS), which also supports clients on iOAT in Vancouver, will provide the treatment under contract with Island Health.
Island Health says it will be provided through daily supervised injections in a clinical setting and will initially support six people, increasing to 20 residents at full capacity.
“Addiction is a chronic illness, and it needs to be treated with all of the tools at our disposal. iOAT is an effective treatment for chronic opioid addiction, and is one more way we can address overdose deaths,” said Dr. Richard Stanwick, Chief Medical Health Officer, Island Health.
The Johnson Street Community already offers a supervised consumption service, which opened in December 2017, referrals to mental health counselling, and substance use treatment programs.
The iOAT program has been available in Vancouver since 2012.