A group of B.C. methadone patients and advocates has penned a handbook on how to navigate the province's opioid substitution treatment program.

Patients Helping Patients Understand Opioid Substitution Treatment explains the not-always-easy world of getting into opioid substitution and also how to go through it successfully.

"It's part troubleshooting instruction manual for getting through a byzantine and bureaucratic system with a lot of barriers and a lot of difficulties," Garth Mullins, a harm reduction activist who co-wrote the book told On The Coast guest host Belle Puri.

"It's also part manifesto to say where the gaps and where the problems are and maybe what ought to be a little better."

Mullins says there are numerous hurdles to getting on opioid replacement therapy and since anyone who needs the treatment is probably in an unstable position, that makes it a challenge.

The book addresses many circumstances for people seeking treatment: how to get treatment while in jail, how to get treatment while pregnant and how to get it while HIV or hepatitis C positive.

Mullins says getting into treatment should be easier and questions why it isn't. That's part of why he became part of the project.

"Myself and everyone else on the writing team have spent the last two years, actually more, just seeing our friends and loved ones and colleagues dying of overdoses, not being able to access the services, not being able to get a stabilized life and it's just so frustrating and angering," he said.

The project was coordinated by the University of Victoria's Centre for Addictions Research and the book is available online on their website.

Mullins says physical copies will be distributed at pharmacies and social services agencies soon.

With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast


To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: People with addictions, advocates, write survival guide for opioid substitution therapy