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HomeNews100 Mile HouseProgram To Tackle Toxic Drug Crisis In BC Now Available In 100...

Program To Tackle Toxic Drug Crisis In BC Now Available In 100 Mile House

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An Interior Health program allowing specially trained nurses to prescribe medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder is now available in 100 Mile House.

Debbie Morris, Interior Health Director for the Mental Health and Substance Use Network said it started a year ago in Vernon and has now grown to serve 11 rural communities.

“So this program that was set up with the support of some change in the Nurse’s Standard of Practice to support our response to the toxic drug supply crisis that we find ourselves in. It was specifically set up in the Interior to really try and address where we have challenges, particularly in some of our rural areas around making sure that we have good access to opioid agonist treatment prescriptions.”

Interior Health said in September 2020, a public health order was issued by Dr. Bonnie Henry to enable nurse prescribing with the goal of increasing access to medication-assisted treatment and safer alternatives to the toxic illicit drug supply.

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“That enable us to expand some of the scopes of our nurses and gave them the ability to prescribe Suboxone.” Morris said, “So we deliberately set up some of these positions across a number of communities, 11 in total. 100 Mile House was one of our first communities to go live with these positions and we will be expanding as we move into the new fiscal year, so we expect to see a position coming into Williams Lake in the near future.”

Morris added that the program’s focus is to allow clients to use prescribed Suboxone, an important opioid agonist treatment medication rather than using street opioids.

“The prescribing is just one part of the scope of the work that these nurses do. We certainly see that there is the ability to support with things like wound care, other medical needs, access to other community resources and referrals, so it’s a bit bigger and broader than just prescribing those medications.” Morris said.

In the past year, Interior Health nurse prescribers have written more than 450 prescriptions for Suboxone.

“We are really pleased to be providing nurse prescriber services, particularly for rural areas where it can be more difficult to see clients outside of clinic hours and respond to urgent client needs,” said Interior Health president and CEO, Susan Brown.

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