What Doctors and Government Decision Makers Should Know About Safe Supply

Note: This is a post for decision makers, physicians, #government and all the people with the privilege to end the #overdose crisis.

#SafeSupplyNow

 

1. Adopt a strategy that validates and legitimizes a person’s choice to use drugs and be explicit about it. Make it clear in your work that drug use is not intrinsically wrong, but like other activities certain cautions need to be taken.

 

2. We expect a reasonable drug policy to be working toward a framework based on the availability of a legal safe supply of drugs that people currently seek on the street, upon which other interventions, such as Methadone, Suboxone, Kadian, abstinence treatment, and education, are based. Canada regulates alcohol distribution in a similar way. 

 

3. The strategy to exit the crisis cannot rest on coercing people into treatment and improving treatment. Yes treatments should be improved, and society should be improved to allow for people to have more meaningful lives, but this is not sufficient to end the crisis and it is disrespectful and stigmatizing to those choose to continue using drugs and who do not want treatment.

 

4. Maintain respect for the harm reduction principle. It is not just a way to keep people alive until they get into treatment. It respects the legitimacy of a person’s choice to consume drugs, and seeks to remove barriers from that person’s ability to consume drugs in a safe and dignified way.

 

5. Abandon or rework the intensity model of treatment. People should simply have awareness of, and access to, as many treatments as possible. Encouraging people on principle to move off of injectable treatment toward a supposed ideal treatment is stigmatizing the behavior. People should be encouraged to use what they prefer based on their own context and not against a background of the way they ought to be. Also, the word "intensity" has numerous and loaded meanings. People should not have to go through an obstacle course to access safe supply, be it dilaudid or injectable opioid assisted treatments like injectable hydromorphone or heroin. 

 

6. No barriers to #SafeSupply.

 

7.  Canada cannot wait until Federal drug laws change to scale up safe supply programming. There are no legal barriers to scaling up immediately. 

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