Made in BC TasP© model applied to addictions pilot project

BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and Vancouver Coastal Health bring twenty teams together to improve access to suboxone and methadone and treatment


September 15, 2017 (Vancouver) – The BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE), in partnership with Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), is launching the BOOST (Best-practices in Oral Opioid agoniSt Therapy) Collaborative. The first program of its kind in Canada, the BOOST Collaborative is designed to bridge gaps in care and improve treatment outcomes of people living with opioid use disorder (OUD).

The BOOST Collaborative will bring twenty teams from across primary care, substance use, mental health, withdrawal management and outreach settings in Vancouver to work together from September 2017 to July 2018.

“The opioid crisis has reached an unprecedented level, especially in British Columbia,” says Dr. Rolando Barrios, Assistant Director, BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. “BOOST will help front- line staff to expand their reach into the community and ensure people get their treatment daily and stay in treatment long term.”

The BOOST Collaborative is based on the success of the BC-CfE’s made-in-BC TasP® (Treatment as Prevention®) strategy for HIV/AIDS. TasP® resulted in expanded access to HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy) medication and led to a nearly 90% reduction in AIDS incidence and AIDS related mortality, with a 66% reduction in HIV new diagnoses.

The TasP® strategy may also be effectively applied to addictions.

“Since the early days of the HIV/AIDS crisis, the BC-CfE has demonstrated an innovative spirit and taken leadership in solving health crises. The opioid crisis is the HIV/AIDS of this generation and deserves a similar response,” says the Centre’s director Dr. Julio Montaner. “Our learnings from the successful application of Treatment as Prevention to HIV/AIDS will be applied to this pilot project. Fundamentally, that means we, the healthcare community understand OUD as a disease, improve and customize treatment options and find people wherever they are and offer a tailored treatment option to every single person who needs it.”

The Collaborative aims to improve access to opioid use disorder services and treatment with the goal of supporting people to remain in long-term care and increase the number of people on methadone and suboxone.  Teams will report back monthly on a series of key metrics related to OUD (opioid use disorder) and treatment including access, active prescriptions, retention in care, and quality of life.

“VCH teams are proud to play a part in developing and refining a process based on Treatment as Prevention that may be used regionally, provincially, and even nationally to address the current opioid crisis,” says Mary Ackenhusen, President and CEO, Vancouver Coastal Health. “Our goal is to improve care and treatment for people with OUD, and encourage clinicians to think of methadone and suboxone as a necessary part of treatment, as with any other medication used to treat a chronic illness.”

For more information, please contact:
Rena Heer, BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS
C: 604-250-2800