As part of the Government of Canada’s response to the opioid crisis, Health Canada removed the requirement for an exemption under section 56(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to prescribe or administer methadone.
The change came into effect on May 19, 2018 and is intended to increase access to opioid agonist treatment.
In the past, practitioners were required to obtain an exemption from Health Canada before they could prescribe, sell, provide or administer methadone.
Given the removal of the Health Canada requirement, pharmacists no longer need to verify if a practitioner holds a valid exemption to prescribe methadone. The College will be updating its policy guide on Methadone Maintenance Treatment to reflect the removal of this requirement.
All other expectations of practice for pharmacy professionals remain unchanged.
- Opioid Agonist Treatment – College of Pharmacists of BC
- Methadone Maintenance Treatment – College of Pharmacists of BC
- Regulations Amending the Narcotic Control Regulations and the New Classes of Practitioners Regulations (Diacetylmorphine (Heroin) and Methadone) – Health Canada
- Provincial Guidelines for the Clinical Management of Opioid Use Disorder – BC Centre on Substance Use
- New Prescribing Methadone practice standard - College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC
- Section 56 class exemption for prescribing methadone in hospital settings