Drug crisis: More training for doctors caring for addicts

published on December 28, 2016 by Liza Yuzda in CKNW

As the province struggles with the on-going opioid crisis, more training is becoming available to help doctors treat those dealing with addiction.

Dr. Annabel Mead, who heads up the Addiction Medicine Program at St. Paul’s Hospital, says their intensive year-long program, a one of a kind in Canada, will have eight students this year.

That’s twice the doctors trained when it started four years ago, and Mead says they’re better equipped to handle the crisis.

“To be able to provide specialty treatment, particularly, with patients with complex and severe substance abuse disorders, but also to provide consultation to other physicians in the community, particularly primary care doctors.”

WATCH: Inside St. Paul’s ER: The front line of B.C.’s overdose crisis

Mead says starting January family doctors can also take an evening course St. Paul’s on prescribing the opioid-replacement drug suboxone.

“It’s going to be around a three and a half hour evening training program with a view of getting primary care physicians comfortable and ready to prescribe suboxone to their patients,” she says.

The province gave doctors the ability to prescribe suboxone earlier this year but the training has been limited to an online course.

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