OHS Canada Magazine

Halifax doctor calls for expansion of ‘safer opioid supply’ in Nova Scotia

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January 10, 2024
By The Canadian Press

Health & Safety opioids

Photo: Getty Images

As the illicit drugs that have devastated Western and Central Canada become more prevalent in Nova Scotia, a Halifax physician is renewing calls to expand access to “safer opioid supply” treatment to prevent overdoses and deaths.

Doctor Mike Gniewek is warning that opioids sold and consumed in Nova Scotia are increasingly unpredictable and often contaminated.

In a recent interview, the family and addictions physician with Halifax’s Mobile Outreach Street Health unit said to save more lives, more doctors in the Atlantic region should be trained on how to treat some patients with pharmaceutical-grade opioids — known as safer supply opioids — a medical approach in which drug users are prescribed what’s considered a safer alternative to what they are consuming.

The approach, he noted, comes with ongoing monitoring and primary health-care support.

The problem right now, he added, is that he knows of only three doctors in the province willing to prescribe patients with a safer supply of an opioid — and he is one of them.



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