As safe-supply study appears to show benefits for drug users, critics raise warning flag

From The Globe and Mail article

A new study of the earliest formal program to offer prescription opioids to drug users suggests their health improved under the medication, one of the study’s authors says. But some experts warn it’s too early to draw conclusions about the efficacy of safe supply programs.

Researcher Tara Gomes of Toronto’s Unity Health network said the study she helped conduct showed that emergency department visits, hospitalizations and some health care costs declined among those who took the prescription opioids. She said it was the first study she knew of to study the long-term effects of offering a safe supply of opioids to drug users, a system that is being rolled out in several places across the country in an attempt to reduce the toll of the opioids crisis, which claimed 29,000 lives from 2016 through 2021.

Though safe supply might not be the solution for everyone, “this really shows that this program can be beneficial for people at a high risk of overdose,” said Ms. Gomes, speaking in advance of the study’s Monday release.

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