(The Canadian Press)

B.C. launches 24/7 helpline to connect experts with people with addictions

The helpline will allow clinicians unfamiliar with prescribing safe alternatives to discuss options

As B.C. saw its most deadly month in the ongoing opioid crisis in May, the province has launched a new 24/7 helpline for physicians and nurses when treating patients struggling with substance use.

The 24/7 Addiction Medicine Clinician Support Line, launched Tuesday (June 16), will be staffed with addiction medicine experts to provide over-the-phone consultations with doctors, nurses and pharmacists with any time-sensitive clinical substance-use inquiries.

This includes questions around screening, assessment, treatment and management of substance use disorders.

“Earlier this spring, we worked quickly to launch Canada’s first guidance for prescribing safe prescription alternatives to the poisoned and increasingly toxic drug supply in B.C.,” said Addictions Minister Judy Darcy in a news statement.

“This helpline is another key step in supporting health-care professionals to meet the immediate needs of their patients and to keep them separated from dangerous, unpredictable street drugs.”

In May, B.C. recorded its deadliest month ever for illicit drug deaths, with 170 people losing their lives due to an unpredictable and highly toxic drug supply which has been exacerbated by COVID-19 and border closures.

ALSO READ: B.C. records highest ever number of fatal overdoses in May with 170 deaths

The helpline will allow clinicians unfamiliar with prescribing safe alternatives to discuss the options with a fellow medical expert – a focus of medicine which remains a huge gap in the healthcare system, according to Dr. Christy Sutherland with the BC Centre for Substance Use.

“This new support line will be a great asset to clinicians in many settings – from an ER doctor working overnight to a nurse in a remote community – and help improve the delivery of life-saving, evidence-based addiction care across the province,” Sutherland said.

The helpline is expected to be particularly helpful for healthcare providers in rural parts of the province which see high rates of fatal overdoses.

“Providing addiction care in rural B.C. can be very isolating and management of complex patients with addictions can be especially challenging,” said Zak Matieschyn, a nurse practitioner with Interior Health. “Access to a 24/7 support line to addiction specialists will be a huge benefit to rural clinicians, and will help provide patients with the best possible care.”

The support line can be reached by dialing 778-945-7619.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

addictions

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Okanagan Realtors donate big to North Westside fire department

Two Kelowna-area Realtors made a generous donation to the North Westside Fire… Continue reading

Water quality advisory rescinded for Vernon users

Emergency repairs on a water main resulted in water quality advisory

SilverStar security recovers stolen bike

Reminders to residents to keep bicycles locked up, eyes open for suspicious activity

Orphaned Okanagan beavers admitted to rehab centre

The two beavers are in the care of the Fawcett Family Wildlife Health Centre

Interior Health will not expand Police and Crisis Team

Southeast Division Chief Superintendent Brad Haugli asked IH to expand the program

13 new B.C. COVID-19 cases, Langley Lodge outbreak ends

Health care outbreaks down to four, 162 cases active

‘Justice for Mona’ protests planned in Kelowna, Lower Mainland

Security camera footage shows Mona Wang being dragged, stepped on during RCMP wellness check

Intent of killing at centre of Surrey man’s Okanagan murder trial

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Allison Beames is anticipated to return with her decision in August

Kelowna neighbourhood pond dries up again

The RDCO filled up the pond on Hall Road but it’s drying up again

Penticton RCMP seek help locating missing woman

25-year-old Iesha Blomquist was reported missing to Penticton RCMP on June 30

Car smashes into Kelowna dollar store

The vehicle went through the front window of the store just off Highway 97 North

Majority of residents in support of alcohol in outdoor spaces: City of Penticton

City council will vote on whether to continue allowing public consumption, on Tuesday, July 7

Princeton RCMP arrest suspects in violent Salmon Arm home invasion

Two men who allegedly staged a violent home invasion in Salmon Arm… Continue reading

Most Read