Heroin-assisted treatment goes to the courts - Macleans.ca

Heroin-assisted treatment goes to the courts

Five patients challenge the Health Minister

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In regards to the decision of Health Minister Rona Ambrose to block access to pharmaceutical heroin through Health Canada’s Special Access Program, Providence Health Care and five participants in the SALOME study are now seeking to challenge the federal government in court.

The notice of civil claim filed with the BC Supreme Court can be viewed here.

Asked for a response, Ms. Ambrose’s office sends along the following statement.

Our Government has closed loopholes that allow for the feeding of addiction under the guise of treatment. Under the Special Access Program, Health Canada can approve emergency access to certain medicines for Canadians with rare diseases or terminal illness. This program was not intended as a way to give illicit drugs to addicts. To keep dangerous drugs like heroin out of Canadian communities, our Government has taken action to protect the integrity of the Special Access Program and close this loophole. We will continue to protect Canadian families and communities against the harmful effects of dangerous and illegal drugs.

Conversely, Liberal MP Hedy Fry tweets her support.

See previously:  The politics of the heroin addictHeroin-assisted treatment and politics-based medicinePerry Kendall on heroin-assisted treatment‘No evidence,’ Minister Ambrose? and ‘Under the guise of treatment’