Methadone patients excluded from provincial meeting launch ‘rights cards’
For immediate release – January 28, 2013
Richmond, BC - Today representatives of the provincial health authorities and addictions researchers are meeting at the Executive Airport Plaza in Richmond for an event they describe as “an important discussion on how to improve Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT) in British Columbia." However, the voices of those actually receiving methadone are conspicuously absent from this provincial meeting. Only one representative from the provincial methadone users’ group was invited, and that was a last-minute addition in the face of pressure from methadone patients. That is why a provincial methadone users group is choosing today release a new “rights card” for MMT patients.
MMT delivery in British Columbia has been criticized for many years by BC Association of People on Methadone (BCAPOM) as a system fraught with corruption and stigmatizing to those it is intended to help.
“MMT patients are entitled to respect and to have a say in how their health care is delivered,” stated BCAPOM Board Member, Laura Shaver. “To not give us a meaningful seat at the table when the province is discussing solutions is insulting and degrading to us.”
BCAPOM has articulated many of the issues faced regularly by MMT patients across the province, pushed for the establishment of Vancouver’s Methadone Taskforce, and has advocated for accountability of doctors and pharmacies. Now, working with Pivot Legal Society, BCAPOM has created a “rights card” for distribution to MMT users in British Columbia. This new card, launched today, spells out some of the rights of MMT patients. BCAPOM will integrate these cards into a peer-based education program.
“We created these rights cards so that people on methadone would know their rights and have a platform to advocate on their own behalf,” said Pivot lawyer, Scott Bernstein. “Knowing your rights is the first step to advocating for upholding those rights.”
The development of the rights cards was supported by the City of Vancouver, as part of the City’s Methadone Task Force. Over ten thousand rights cards will be distributed to methadone users across the province.
PRESS CONFERENCE TODAY
DATE: Monday January 28, 2013
Location: Executive Airport Plaza, 7311 Westminster Hwy, Richmond, BC
Time: 12:00 p.m. (PST)
Scott Bernstein, Pivot Legal Society, 778-228-2992
Laura Shaver, BCAPOM, 604-754-1208