British Columbia

Clinic brings opioid addiction treatment to Victoria suburbs

The new clinic will be first to provide opioid substitution therapy for residents of the rapidly growing West Shore communities.

‘We do know that people here are suffering,’ medical director Dr. Randal Mason says

The Westshore AVI Health Centre will focus on providing treatment for opioid addiction including substitution therapies such as Suboxone. (Getty Images)

A new clinic is bringing addiction treatment options to the fast-growing suburb of Langford outside Victoria. Until now, the treatment had only been available downtown.

The main focus of Westshore AVI Health Centre's services will be providing opioid substitution therapies, including methadone and Suboxone. 

"We do know that people here are suffering," clinic medical director Dr. Randal Mason told All Points West host Jason D'Souza.

"We're here to provide some relief to their suffering through having the services available."

AVI's non-profit board of directors decided to fund a clinic in Langford based on data showing about 40 per cent of the people who use existing opioid substitution treatment services come from the West Shore communities, including Sooke and Colwood.

Those services have been concentrated in downtown Victoria, where the opioid addiction and overdose crisis has been most visible because of homelessness and open drug use. 

"In reality, addiction is just something that just crosses every socioeconomic line. If affects everybody," Mason said.

Cost, transportation barriers to treatment

While opioid substitution therapies are very effective at treating substance use disorder, Mason said, "a lot of people fall off their treatment at some point and part of that is due to barriers that are in place."

"It could be financial. It could be transportation," he said. "One of the things we're seeking to do is reduce that a little bit by placing the clinic in an area where we know services are lacking."

Mason said the new West Shore clinic, which is currently open only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, relieves some of the pressure on existing opioid addiction treatment services.

He said the clinic's hours of operation will be re-evaluated once the current schedule reaches capacity.