(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

Just Posted

Greens, Liberals, NDP field Fraser-Nicola candidates ahead of October election

Incumbent Jackie Tegart has two opposing candidates after snap election called Monday

Work has started on 20 units of seniors’ housing in Clinton

Much-delayed project has been in the works for almost a decade

Cache Creek firefighters plan bigger, better Halloween fireworks

‘With so much uncertainty in the world it’s nice to know that one community event is staying intact’

Volunteers welcome at this year’s Black Powder Desert Rendezvous

Plus farmers’ markets, an art show, a bottle drive, a Fire Prevention Week contest, and more

Ashcroft looks into hiring bylaw officer with Cache Creek, Clinton

Funding available to help communities hire bylaw during COVID-19 state of emergency

B.C.’s top doctor thanks supporters after revealing threats over COVID-19 measures

Dr. Bonnie Henry says COVID-19 has caused some people to lash out in anger and frustration out of fear

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

NDP, Greens divided on pace of child care improvements in B.C. election campaign

NDP Leader John Horgan recommitted to $10-a-day child care and blamed the Greens for not supporting his efforts

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

Pandemic derails CP Holiday Train

Canadian Pacific will work to get donations to food banks while also producing an online music concert

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Interior Health reports five new COVID-19 cases

Across the region, 34 cases are active

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Local councils important, Horgan says as municipal conference ends

B.C. NDP leader says ‘speed dating’ vital, online or in person

Most Read