BC ECHO on Substance Use Update: Programming During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The declaration on March 17, 2020 of a public health emergency related to COVID-19 means that British Columbia is now facing two concurrent crises: one, the rapidly escalating spread of the novel coronavirus and another, the ongoing opioid overdose crisis.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the BC ECHO on Substance Use team is working hard to continue to deliver our educational programming and clinical guidance without interruption. One benefit of our program during these challenging times is that it is already virtual in nature. We plan to continue offering the BC ECHO on Substance Use (Opioid Use Disorder) according to the current schedule (biweekly, on a rotating schedule of Tuesdays and Thursday at noon). We will update the curriculum where relevant and possible to respond to the evolving challenges of COVID-19.

“Frequently Asked Questions” on Substance Use and COVID-19 are now available from the ECHO sessions on


Thursday, August 6, 2020 | 12:00pm – 1:00pm PDT

“Caring for patients with an opioid use disorder in your primary care practice setting: An overview”

Presenter: Dr. Tara Andrusiak, MSc., MD CCFP dISAM

Learning objectives of this session:

  1. Define and diagnose opioid use disorder (OUD)
  2. Describe the biological basis for addiction & treatment continuum for OUD
  3. Identify facilitators & barriers to incorporating OUD care in primary care, particularly in rural settings
  4. Explain factors that contribute to overdose risk
  5. Summarize the critical role of primary care in the management of OUD

About the BC ECHO on Substance Use

In collaboration with regional and other stakeholders, and funded by Health Canada, the BCCSU is offering an opioid use disorder (OUD) Project ECHO and associated Community of Practice within British Columbia and Yukon Territory.

BC ECHO on Substance Use (Opioid Use Disorder) aims to help primary care providers and their teams build capacity in the treatment and management of opioid use disorder. Through interactive, online, case-based presentations, health care providers will enhance competencies and learn through real-world examples, how to incorporate evidence-based practices into their care setting, to improve outcomes for clients and families.

Primary care providers, allied health care providers, and other front-line workers are encouraged to join.


How do I sign up?

Fill out the form below to register and receive updates on future sessions of the BC ECHO on Substance Use. Session dial in info will be circulated by email to registrants.

Why join?

  • It’s free
  • It’s virtual – all you need is a computer and web cam, or a smartphone to join
  • It’s a good opportunity to connect with a community of primary care and community care providers, facing similar challenges
  • Earn CME or MOC credits (ECHO sessions are certified by the College of Family Physicians of Canada for 1.0 Mainpro+ credit per session or 1.0 MOC Section 1 group learning credit per session)


What will I learn?

Topics covered in the upcoming cycle of the OUD Project ECHO include:

  • Introduction to caring for patients with OUD ECHO in primary care practice settings
  • Strategies for buprenorphine/naloxone induction in primary care settings (traditional and home induction, microdosing)
  • Transitions between pharmacotherapies for OUD
  • Managing patients with co-occurring chronic pain and OUD
  • Decoding urine drug tests
  • Special considerations for both youth and pregnancy populations
  • OAT and pharmacy


What takes place during a typical session?

Using an interactive, web-based platform (ZOOM videoconferencing), this initiative will link clinicians from across BC and the Yukon to a core interdisciplinary team with expertise in managing OUD. ECHO sessions consist of three main components:

  • a brief didactic presentation on a specific OUD care topic
  • a case presentation from a participating clinician
  • collaborative recommendation development


What is the ECHO Model?

The ECHO Model is an effective approach that engages rural and remote health care providers, enhances competencies in a given health specialty area, improves uptake of evidence-based provider behaviours and better patient health outcomes for patients.
For more information on the ECHO model, please visit https://echo.unm.edu/


When are the sessions?

OUD ECHO sessions are 1 hour, held on a rotating biweekly schedule of Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:00pm – 1:00pm PST. Cycle 2 sessions are scheduled to start in early February 2020.


Is it only for physicians?

All health care providers are welcome to attend. The topics and didactic lectures are targeted toward primary care providers (nurse practitioners and primary care physicians), however, we encourage others providing care to individuals with problematic opioid use or opioid use disorder and their families to attend.


Where can I learn more?

For more information or general inquiries on the BC ECHO on Substance Use (Opioid Use Disorder) or to inquire about attending, leading a session or submitting a case for discussion, please email [email protected]


Copyright © 2020, British Columbia Centre on Substance Use

400-1045 Howe St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2A9

E: [email protected] | T: (778) 945-7616 | F: (604) 428-5183

Online Addiction Medicine Diploma: [email protected].