B.C. Coroner recommends much closer regulation, control of drug treatment centres during opioid crisis - InfoNews

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B.C. Coroner recommends much closer regulation, control of drug treatment centres during opioid crisis

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April 05, 2018 - 2:31 PM

Closer regulation and control of drug and alcohol recovery houses and rehabilitation centres, as well as proof that they actually work, is one of the key recommendations from the B.C. Coroners Service death review panel of the opioid crisis.

Chair of the death review panel coroner Michael Egilson said in an interview today, April 5, the recommendation is specifically aimed at the patchwork of privately-owned and non-profit organizations that offer rehabilitation programs for opioid and other addictions.

“There are currently no provincial regulations for addiction treatment with evidence-based standards,” Egilson said.

Of particular concern is the use of quick detox methods which have now been shown to contribute to opioid deaths by suddenly lowering the tolerance of the user and increasing their chances of fatal overdose if they relapse.

Egilson pointed specifically to the death of Brandon Jansen, a young man who overdosed and died at the Sunshine Coast Health Centre in Powell River in 2016 after being released from prison.

The inquest into his death found Jansen had been treated without success after spending time in 11 other rehab facilities, detox centres and treatment programs, some which where charging him $25,000 to $30,000 a month.

A range of findings and recommendations came from the inquest, which amongst other things sparked the provincial government to expand the availability of the opioid overdose-reversing drug naloxone.

Egilson said the panel’s recommendations build on those contained in the Jansen inquest with new ones added based on the information gleaned in the last two years.

The panel looked at 1,854 overdose deaths that occurred between January 1, 2016 and July 31, 2017.

With a number of high-level officials from the Ministry of Health and the new Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions on the panel, Egilson said he expects an immediate response from government.

“I’m confident government will respond to our recommendations,” he added.

Egilson said one way to enact appropriate legislation would be an expanded Community Care Licensing act which currently governs the physical structures of treatment facilities but says nothing about standards of care.

“That would be one way of doing it,” he added. “There may be a better way of doing it but we need to set standards with the same rigour we would apply to mental health practices or chronic disease treatment."

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