British Columbia

7 new opioid addiction treatment centres to open throughout Fraser Valley

Clinics in Burnaby, Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Langley, Mission and Maple Ridge to offer Suboxone and methadone to people battling opioid addiction.

Clinics in Burnaby, Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Langley, Mission and Maple Ridge to offer suboxone, methadone

Suboxone is a form of opioid replacement therapy that helps block opiate withdrawal symptoms and heroin cravings. (Getty Images)

The Fraser Health Authority (FHA) will rapidly expand access to opioid addictions treatment — including prescription methadone and Suboxone — by opening seven new clinics across the Lower Mainland.

Clinics will open in Burnaby, Langley, Maple Ridge, Mission, Abbotsford and Chilliwack through September and October to offer the first treatment for opioid addiction, in addition to two treatment centres already operating in Surrey.

"Seven of the 14 communities that have the [greatest number of overdose deaths [in B.C.] are actually in our region," said Dr. Victoria Lee, the chief medical health officer at Fraser Health.

"We're expanding services purposefully in those communities to ensure that we have greater access to treatment services."

So far In 2017, 258 people have died of illicit drug overdoses in the FHA region — more than any other health authority in the province.

Prescription methadone and Suboxone treatments are administered to relieve debilitating symptoms of cravings and withdrawal, enabling a person to engage in therapy, counselling and support, according to health officials.

Future plans

While methodone and Suboxone have been proven to be effective treatment tools, Lee says there's still room to broaden treatment services.

"There's been success with prescribing prescription heroin or hydromorphone, in other cases, within a small subset of the population, and we're examining that within our setting as well," she said.

Lee says the clinics will not provide supervised consumption services; however, the health authority is currently putting together a feasability/impact assessment as to how the region would benefit from harm reduction services.

With files from CBC's BC Almanac