A drug user prepares drugs at theoverdose prevention site in Our Place in Victoria. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)

A drug user prepares drugs at theoverdose prevention site in Our Place in Victoria. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)

B.C. drug users offered withdrawal medication similar to version yanked in 2014

Nearly 18,000 people were switched from methadone to Methadose in 2014.

Drug users who didn’t respond well to a reformulated methadone treatment introduced in British Columbia four years ago to ward off withdrawal symptoms have won their battle to get a medication equivalent to the original version.

Nearly 18,000 people were switched from methadone to Methadose in 2014, but a doctor who treats substance users in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver says the reformulated drug caused substance users to become ’dope sick’ in about 14 hours, instead of 24 hours.

Dr. Christy Sutherland says that led to withdrawal symptoms including pain, sweats and diarrhea and had many people seeking drugs such as heroin on the streets during an opioid crisis fuelled by potentially deadly fentanyl.

Sutherland says she has now switched many of her patients to Metadol-D, which has been shown to work as well as the original methadone.

The B.C. Centre on Substance Use has been educating doctors about that medication, which physicians must apply for on an “exceptional basis.”

Laura Shaver, who heads the British Columbia Association of People on Methadone, says the province discontinued the original treatment for marginalized people without consultation, which caused misery for drug users, including herself, who experienced withdrawal.

Related: Drug users say methadone switch contributed to B.C.’s opioid crisis

Related: Convicted offenders in B.C. 3x more likely to die without methadone: study

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(James Holmes/Contributed)
Kelowna chef to compete on the Food Network’s Fire Masters

Chef James Holmes will compete for $10K on an upcoming episode of Fire Masters

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
57 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

Thirty people in the region are in hospital, 16 of whom are in intensive care

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Approximately 2,500 teachers, school staff vaccinated in Central Okanagan

Central Okanagan Teachers’ Association said teachers are thrilled

City of West Kelowna. (Phil McLachlan/West K News)
City of West Kelowna puts more than $35M into infrastructure projects

Sizable investments into road and active transportation network projects

A hummingbird gives its wings a rare rest while feeding in a North Okanagan garden. (Karen Siemens/North Okanagan Naturalists Club)
Hummingbirds back for another Okanagan season

North America’s littlest birds return, and they’re hungry

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

(Kingfisher Boats photo)
In the market for a boat in the North Okanagan? Be prepared to wait

Vernon’s Kingfisher Boats is out of 2021 models, with many 2022 models already pre-sold

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. CDC updates info, acknowledging small respiratory droplets can spread COVID-19

Large droplets, not aerosols had been fixture of public health messaging for many months

Most Read