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Groundbreaking work at Crosstown

More than a hundred people in our province are dying from illicit drug overdoses every month.

But the opioid crisis isn’t just hitting us hard. As the wave of deaths spreads across North America, health authorities, law enforcement and government officials are scrambling to find long-term solutions. Many are looking to the groundbreaking work of Providence’s Crosstown Clinic, still the only health care facility in North America to treat chronic substance use with prescription heroin, or diacetylmorphine and injectable hydromorphone.

Outside one of two entrances to Providence’s Crosstown Clinic, located at 84 West Hastings.

While the federal government is lifting restrictions on diacetylmorphine, the Crosstown model using injectable hydromorphone, a licensed pain medication, is quickly being adopted elsewhere. Ottawa opened up a hydromorphone clinic last year. Alberta is set to follow later this year and Toronto Public Health is also considering the treatment option.

Meanwhile, Crosstown has slowly been increasing access to its hydromorphone program. As of May 2017, there are almost 150 patients in treatment.