NDP Mental Health and Addictions critic Gerry Rogers (MHA, St. John’s Centre) says despite a promise late last year of a better treatment option, people with addictions are still waiting for access to Suboxone. Today in the House of Assembly, she asked the Minister of Health why Suboxone remains inaccessible.
“On December 6 the Minister held a news conference promising access to Suboxone for opioid addiction treatment, saying it is a safer alternative to methadone, and less prone to overdose,” Rogers said in Question Period today.
“Six and a half months later, the province is deep in an opioid and fentanyl drug crisis. People are overdosing and dying. Suboxone is still not readily available.
“I ask the Minister why has he not been able to make this happen and roll out Suboxone as he promised?”
Rogers notes that creating an advisory committee does little to address the many roadblocks to actually introducing Suboxone treatment to the province.
“Because of the fentanyl crisis, more people are desperately seeking treatment for opioid addiction, yet still have to wait at least three weeks for an initial screening appointment with the Opioid Treatment Centre. Then they have to have a series of tests that can take up to 10 days or more for results. Addictions don’t do well on wait lists,” she said.
“I ask the Minister what is he doing to put resources in place to speed up this process as other provinces have done?”
Rogers notes that Suboxone is available in a more easily-used strip form than the pills that are now available, which require 15 minutes of supervision by dispensing pharmacists or other professionals. She says the minister should be pushing his federal counterpart to approve the strip form for use in Canada.