Into Practice is a series of posts highlighting participants in the BC ECHO on Substance Use, and the ways in which they incorporate their learnings into their practice.
This edition, we hear from Ann Johnston, Manager, Pharmacy Practice Support for the BC Pharmacy Association.
I’m a community pharmacist by training and practiced in the United Kingdom before I relocated to British Columbia (BC). I now work for the BC Pharmacy Association, a not-for-profit organization that supports and advocates for the pharmacy profession in the province.
In the last couple of years, my role with the Association has been focused on developing and implementing training and education for community pharmacists and pharmacy technicians on opioid agonist therapy (OAT). In particular, we’ve been working with the Ministry of Health to create and launch the training program “Opioid Agonist Treatment Compliance and Management Program for Pharmacy” (OAT CAMPP), which is mandatory for community pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to complete. In recent years, there has been a raft of new policies, guidelines and different Pharmacare coverages related to OAT. OAT CAMPP aims to apprise pharmacists of these developments and of how best to offer care in their pharmacies.
I consider it really important that I stay up-to-date with the latest in addictions care because I am involved in the creation of relevant training for pharmacists. In attending BC ECHO on Substance Use sessions, my aim is to ensure that we aren’t missing anything and that our teachings dovetail with the practices of other care providers working in this space. A community pharmacist is one of the most accessible healthcare professionals. It’s crucial that they are able to connect clients to the right resources.
Providing care to people who use drugs was something I was interested in when I was working as a community pharmacist back in the United Kingdom. In the busy Central London pharmacy where I worked, a lot of clients were coming in for OAT. In those days, we didn’t have private counselling rooms. I would notice those clients getting remarks and looks from other patrons, who confounded OAT with ongoing drug use. I feel that in my current work, I’m supporting pharmacists by helping to create a space in which to talk about and break down this stigma.
The BC ECHO on Substance Use (Opioid Use Disorder) is a virtual continuing education program that 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 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.
To learn more about the BC ECHO on Substance Use and Project ECHO, visit the website.