A Vancouver activist and freelance journalist says it's imperative that people on methadone learn of a big change to coming to the way this opioid is prescribed.
Speaking on Co-op Radio's Media Mornings program today (December 12), Garth Mullins revealed that effective February 1, the new Methadose will be far more concentrated than the traditional 1-milligram per millilitre oral dose.
The Methadose, which is manufactured by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, will be delivered in 10-milligram per millilitre doses.
He quoted Laura Shaver, president of the B.C. Association of People on Methadone, who worries that some people will die because there haven't been sufficient efforts taken to notify people on the program.
On the radio, Mullins also pointed out that methadone overdoses can occur between two to seven hours after the drug is taken.
By then, he declared, the person might be home alone with nobody available to help, raising the risk of death.
In addition, Mullins has posted an article about the methadone change on his blog. He noted that there will be no problem if people measure their doses accurately.
However, he stated difficulties can arise if pharmacists make measuring errors or if people who rely on methadone get their dose wrong.
The world's first methadone-maintenance treatment program was pioneered in Vancouver in 1959, according to a UVic Centre for Addictions Research B.C. paper published in May 2010.
It's given as a substitute for other opioid addictions, notably heroin, which is illegal.
Between 1996 and 2006, the number of methadone users in the provincial program grew from 2,827 to 9,601, according to the Centre for Addictions Research B.C. report.
Mullins noted in his article that the number had reached 13,894 by 2012, according to B.C. PharmaCare statistics.
This past autumn, representatives from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. and the College of Pharmacists of B.C. offered free live training sessions in communities across the province to inform people in these professions about the pending changes to the program.
The change is being made to bring B.C. in line with dispensing practices across the country.