Interior Health introduces new treatment option for opioid addiction

Interior Health is bolstering its efforts to treat opioid addiction in the Okanagan.

The health authority is introducing a new treatment that injects patients with medication to help manage withdrawal.

The iOAT (Injectable Opioid Agonist Treatment) is designed to provide an alternative for patients who haven't succeeded with other treatments.

"Opioid addiction is a physical dependence on opioids" said Health Service Administrator Danielle Cameron.

"When people are addicted, they actually experience discomfort and uncomfortable symptoms as a result of the withdrawal."

The iOAT (Injectable Opioid Agonist Treatment) will provide a new option to recovering addicts who have not found success with existing treatments.

It's Interior Health's latest effort to combat the opioid addiction in the Okanagan. In February, the health authority expanded it's opioid treatment clinic to help more addicts.

"You don't go a day without hearing something in the news, in the media around the opioid crisis and we're certainly happy to be able to be expanding our services and be able to offer options to people who haven't been able to succeed with the existing options."

According to the BC Coroners service, overdoses killed more people in 2018 than car accidents, homicides and suicides combined.