Interior Health makes Suboxone available to emergency departments – Kelowna News


Suboxone more accessible

Interior Health is increasing access to Suboxone, making it widely available in hospital emergency departments.

The drug helps some get rid of opioids by blocking receptors in the brain that allow a person to get high on drugs like heroin and fentanyl.

Suboxone, however, has traditionally been much more difficult to access compared to other treatments such as methadone. Often drug addicts do not have a doctor and their first contact with treatment options is in the emergency room after an overdose.

With 2,224 toxic drug deaths recorded last year in British Columbia, Interior Health says it has rolled out Suboxone “to-go packs” to emergency departments alongside a new urgent referral process for connect people to an ongoing order.

“The toxic drug crisis continues to impact patients, families and communities. We can be part of the solution to this ongoing public health emergency and hopefully prevent the loss of life by providing opioid agonist therapy to the emergency room,” said Heather Hair, Emergency Services Network Director from Interior Health.

“Frontline healthcare workers in emergency departments often see firsthand the effects of drug addiction and drug-related deaths. We have conversations and build relationships with people who have often been stigmatized and hopefully help protect them.

The Suboxone in the ED project has now been implemented in 20 Interior Health hospitals, most recently in the South Okanagan in April, culminating in a celebration of the 100th client enrollment in the program.

In May, Suboxone in the emergency department is introduced to hospitals on the Kootenay border. All sites will be included by September 2022.


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