Complexities treating opioid addicted B.C. youth prompt new guidelines
published on June 13, 2018 by The Canadian Press in Times Colonist
VANCOUVER — New guidelines aimed at improving treatment for opioid-addicted young people have been released by the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use, which says a lack of youth-focused treatment programs has created challenges in the province with the highest number of fatal overdoses.
Rachel Staples, whose 15-year-old son Elliot Eurchuk died in April from an accidental overdose, said that while the guidelines are a good start, insufficient treatment beds and a law prohibiting parental involvement in care without a youth’s consent are big problems that must be addressed.
Dr. Sharon Vipler, who was on the committee that developed the guidelines, said they call on doctors to prescribe treatment drugs such as suboxone before methadone is tried, as well as counselling to support youth dealing with addiction.
The guidelines say short-term detox programs alone are not recommended because they tend to increase rates of relapse, HIV infection and overdose death but that patients should be referred to ongoing treatment, including in residential facilities.
Doctors are encouraged to screen all youth for substance use disorders and mental health disorders and to refer patients to addiction physicians with experience treating youth with opioid use disorder.View the full article