Heroine Assisted Treatment: Saving Lives During the Overdose Death Crisis

by the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition

March 27, 2017

Event Type



March 27, 2017 at 7:00pm to 9:00pm


Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 W. Hastings Street, Vancouver

In 2016 there were a total of 922 overdose deaths in British Columbia. The province is experiencing the worst opioid overdose crisis in its history. Due to the unprecedented number of overdose deaths in the province in April 2016 a public health emergency was announced by the BC Provincial Health Officer.

How did we get here? How can we prevent more deaths?

This panel will provide a unique opportunity to learn about the benefits of heroin-assisted treatment (HAT), one viable option to reduce opioid overdose deaths. Not one HAT patient has died of an overdose death in Canada and Europe.

Donald MacPherson, Director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition will moderate the event. Presenter Dr. Susan Boyd will briefly discuss how heroin (diacetylmorphine) has been defined and framed differently over time, from a legitimate medicine to a demonized and dangerous drug. Doug King will highlight the constitutional challenge for HAT launched in 2013 by Pivot Legal Society, Providence Health Care and five plaintiffs, following the federal governments decision to prohibit the prescription of heroin to people who benefited from the treatment. Dr. Scott MacDonald, the physician lead at the Providence Crosstown Clinic in the Downtown Eastside which was the site of two HAT clinical trials: NAOMI and SALOME, will discuss his work and the benefits of supervising injectable opioid assisted substitution treatment (siOAT) at the clinic. Dave Murray and SNAP members will provide further context, as people who are currently receiving HAT at Crosstown Clinic. SNAP advocates for the end of drug prohibition and for permanent flexible HAT programs and the reclassification of diacetylmorphine, so that physicians in Canada can more easily prescribe it.

This is a FREE event. For more information, please visit: http://at.sfu.ca/WVGPjB