(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

COVID-19: Health Canada recalls 23 hand sanitizers brands

Multiple types of unauthorized industrial-grade ethanol have been found in hand sanitizer products

Young Ucluelet local earns Indigenous Language Revitalization Diploma

Timmy Masso hasn’t entered Grade 12 yet, but he’s already secured a University of Victoria diploma.

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

‘Someone knows something’: a look into Vancouver Island missing persons with interactive map

There are more than three dozen people listed as missing throughout Vancouver Island

21 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in B.C. as virus ‘silently circulates’ in broader community

Health officials urge British Columbians to enjoy summer safely as surge continues

Tough time for tree fruits as some B.C. farm products soar

Province reports record 2019 sales, largely due to cannabis

‘Let’s all do a self-check’: Okanagan mayor reacts to racist vandalism targeting local family

Home of Indo-Canadian family in Summerland was targeted on evening of July 13

Province agrees to multimillion-dollar payout for alleged victims of Kelowna social worker

Robert Riley Saunders is accused of misappropriating funds of children — often Indigenous — in his care

Feds fund safe drug supply pilot program for Cowichan

The opioid overdose crisis continues to be one of the most serious public health crises

B.C. businessman David Sidoo gets 3 months behind bars for college admissions scam

Sidoo was sentenced for hiring someone take the SATs in place of his two sons

PHOTOS: Inside a newly-listed $22M mega-mansion on ALR land in B.C.

The large home, located on ALR land, is one of the last new mansions to legally be built on ALR land

Thousands of dollars in stolen rice found in B.C. warehouse

Police raid seizes $75,000 in ‘commercial scale’ theft case

COVID-19 gives B.C. First Nation rare chance to examine tourism’s impact on grizzly bears

With 40 infrared cameras deployed in Kitasoo-Xai’Xais territory, research will help develop tourism plan with least impact on bears

Most Read