University of Calgary project will bring opioid agonist therapy to rural and Indigenous communities
OTTAWA, July 30, 2019 /CNW/ - The opioid crisis continues to be one of the most serious public health issues in recent decades. The crisis not only impacts urban areas, but also rural and remote regions and Indigenous communities across the country. Tragically,
Today, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, announced funding of approximately $713,000 to the University of Calgary to develop a telehealth treatment model to increase access to opioid agonist therapy (OAT) within remote areas and in Indigenous communities in Alberta. OAT treatment involves the safe dispensing of medications, such as Suboxone, to treat opioid use disorder in a clinical setting.
Treating opioid use disorder with opioid-assisted therapy within a primary care setting is often complex and can require significant support from physicians to help patients through withdrawal and toward stabilization. The University of Calgary's treatment model will provide virtual assistance to enable physicians to provide much-needed treatment in remote areas of Alberta. For example, the project will provide training for health providers through webinars and enable direct consultation with physicians or pharmacists through an online platform. It will also provide physicians with more direct access to specialists through an extensive online network.
Often individuals seeking treatment for opioid use disorder are required to travel long distances daily to obtain OAT medication in neighbouring towns. This project will remove such barriers to receiving treatment by supporting physicians in providing OAT right in their communities.
This initiative was developed in close collaboration with Alberta Health Services and members of Alberta Indigenous communities.
"Opioid-related deaths and overdoses continue to devastate families and communities across the country. Tragically, we lost 2,118 lives in Alberta from 2016 to 2018 because of the opioid crisis. This initiative will help ensure that all Albertans with opioid use disorder have access to treatment options no matter where they live in the province."The Honourable Ginette Petitpas TaylorMinister of Health
"Enhancing primary care capacity for buprenorphine-naloxone delivery in Indigenous communities must address contextual factors like access to willing providers with adequate infrastructure to support patients, distance from pharmacies, and capacity to be responsive to emergent client needs. This requires on-the-ground partnerships across health, social services, and cultural systems to build wrap-around supports and inter-professional networks that support healing from colonization and its legacy of multi-generational trauma."
Dr. Rita HenderDepartment of Family MedicineUniversity of Calgary
Federal actions on opioids - overviewCanada.ca/OpioidsSubstance Use and Addictions Program
SOURCE Health Canada
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