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B.C. launches 24/7 helpline to assist experts helping those with addictions

A new helpline for clinicians will provide health-care providers with live, in-the-moment addiction medicine support while they are treating patients.

The 24/7 Addiction Medicine Clinician Support Line launched today 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 will offer consultation to physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses and pharmacists involved in addiction and substance-use care, treatment and recovery in British Columbia.

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“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 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.

The province says this type of support is urgently needed as two public health emergencies are affecting British Columbia, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the opioid crisis.

“This new support line will be a great asset to clinicians in many settings – from an ER doctor working overnight to a nurse in a remote community – and help improve the delivery of life-saving, evidence-based addiction care across the province,” says Dr. Christy Sutherland, physician education lead at the BCCSU and medical director of PHS Community Services Society.

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

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