New 24/7 Helpline for Time-Sensitive Clinical Substance-Use Inquiries

Victoria – A new 24/7 helpline for clinicians will provide health-care providers around British Columbia with live, in-the-moment addiction medicine support, while they are treating patients.

This comes on the heels of the latest Province wide overdose warning and troubling record numbers for illicit drug overdose deaths.

Clinicians can reach the 24/7 Addiction Medicine Clinician Support Line and speak to an Addiction Medicine Specialist by calling 778 945-7619.

The 24/7 Addiction Medicine Clinician Support Line was launched on Tuesday, June 16, 2020, by the BC Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU). The support line is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to provide rapid response for time-sensitive clinical substance-use inquiries. Addiction medicine experts provide telephone consultation to physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses and pharmacists who are involved in addiction and substance-use care, treatment and recovery in British Columbia.

“Earlier this spring, we worked quickly to launch Canada’s first guidance for prescribing safe prescription alternatives to the poisoned and increasingly toxic drug supply in B.C.,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “This helpline is another key step in supporting health-care professionals to meet the immediate needs of their patients and to keep them separated from dangerous, unpredictable street drugs.”

The 24/7 support line will connect health-care providers to an addiction medicine specialist who has expertise in addiction medicine, including emergency, acute and community care. Consultation can include support in screening, assessment, treatment and management of substance use and substance-use disorders.

This new resource will help support implementation of clinical guidance and improve access to evidence-based treatment for patients. The support is urgently needed as clinical guidance and regulatory amendments are being rapidly developed in response to the dual public health emergencies in response to overdoses and the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, telephone guidance can be provided to support patients with opioid-use disorder. Clinicians can also consider prescribing safer prescription alternatives to the toxic drug supply.

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