How Canadian pharmacists are treating opioid addiction

canada pharmacist opioid addiction

Provinces across Canada are struggling with opioid use.

Drug overdose deaths in British Columbia hit an all-time high last month, with 128 deaths in a single month, or about four deaths a day. In 2015, around 2,000 Canadians died from opioid overdoses, with more than 700 deaths reported annually in Ontario.

In response to the growing numbers of abuse, the country’s pharmacists are leading the fight against opioid addiction. Between Nova Scotia’s Department of Health and Wellness helping those with addiction, New Brunswick’s creation of a monitoring program, and a new joint action plan at the Opioid Conference and Summit, overdose rates are expected to decrease.

Alistair Bursey, chair of the Canadian Pharmacists Association said at a press conference that pharmacists are on the front lines and often witness patients slipping into opioid abuse.

New Brunswick is preparing to launch a prescription monitoring program after 10 years of lobbying. Once the program is put into effect, patients will have to present their medicare card when they purchase their prescriptions. This allows pharmacists to see their patient’s history and intervene if they suspect the patient is doctor shopping.

Pharmacists from Nova Scotia have created the Bloom Program, a procedure dedicated to helping pharmacists treat mental health and addiction issues. Pharmacists must undertake a nine-step process to become part of the program. Once certified,… (continue reading)