The Geographic Scope of Opiate Substitution Therapy in an Urban Area in Canada
Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy
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Opiate substitution therapy (OST) is an interdisciplinary treatment method for individuals experiencing opiate addictions. Municipalities internationally are working through a process of responding to both the need for OST clinics and community concerns around these clinics. The purpose of this quantitative descriptive study was to better understand the geographic spread of those currently accessing OST in an urban area in Canada. This will serve to assist related policy-making. Postal codes of 796 individuals accessing OST were obtained from one clinic and one dispensing pharmacy. Representing 581 unique data points, these were mapped across the 26 residential neighbourhoods in the city of study. Individuals accessing OST were located within an 11 km radius of the clinic and pharmacy. Situated in every neighbourhood in this radius, individuals accessing OST were in 24 of the 26 possible residential neighbourhoods. Ultimately, data support the hypothesis that individuals accessing OST are located in all residential neighbourhoods in the urban area of study. This supports current literature indicating that addiction exists throughout all urban areas rather than being limited to only certain neighbourhoods. This has implications for zoning of OST clinics and pharmacies, as municipalities must balance neighbourhood concerns while not overly restricting access throughout the municipality.