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B.C. earmarks $3M to help health professionals treat addiction

August 26, 2014 – British Columbians and their families who are struggling with addiction can expect more help with a $3-million government investment to expand and support a provincial addiction medicine education and research training program for clinicians, making it the largest in North America.


August 26, 2014
By Massage Therapy Canada staff

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The B.C. government is partnering with the education, care and research
program of Dr. Evan Wood, University of British Columbia professor and
co-director of the Urban Health Research Initiative at the BC Centre for
Excellence in HIV/AIDS at St. Paul’s Hospital and medical director,
Addictions Services, Vancouver Coastal Health and Providence Health
Care, to harness new ways to treat substance dependence and related
health concerns.

“There is an abundance of new knowledge
available in the area of substance use disorder treatment. Today’s
announcement will lead to translating that information into
evidence-based and patient-centred care,” Health Minister Terry Lake
said when the initiative was announced early August. “With the expertise
and leadership of Dr. Wood and his colleagues in expanding the number
of skilled addiction medicine providers and developing new ways of
helping patients, I am confident that B.C. will remain a leader in
addiction treatment education, research and clinical supports.”

Funding
will help develop a new B.C. addiction medicine diploma program to
improve clinical addiction care as well as the establishment of a
rapid-access addiction medicine program. It also will support various
addiction clinical trials, including a study recently funded by the U.S.
National Institute on Drug Abuse using a new medication called
Vivitrol, a monthly intramuscular injection that blocks the effects of
alcohol or heroin, and is already available in the U.S. to treat opioid
and alcohol dependence.

“Having seen first-hand the impact of
addictions in our communities, I understand that it is important to
reach out to those in need of care and provide even greater support,”
said Suzanne Anton, attorney general and Minister of Justice.

“I
want to thank Health Minister Terry Lake and the provincial government
for helping to promote optimal patient care in B.C. by supporting
professional education in addiction medicine and creating opportunities
for inter-disciplinary collaboration amongst doctors and other health
professionals to best serve patients facing addictions,” said Wood. He
added the announcement will enable B.C. to emerge as an international
leader in addiction treatment and recovery.

Additionally, funding
sets the stage for the establishment of a Network for Excellence in
Substance Dependence and Related Harms. This first-of-its-kind Canadian
model will focus on integrating medical education, scientific research
and clinical care to reduce the health and social harms of untreated
addiction. The centre also will create an interdisciplinary platform to
build capacity for addressing related health issues like mental illness
and communicable diseases such as Hepatitis C and HIV.

B.C.’s
Ministry of Health has made it a priority to build a comprehensive
system of mental-health and substance use services throughout the
province. About $1.3 billion was spent on these services in 2012-2013.

In
November 2013, the Ministry of Health created a mental-health action
plan to reduce barriers and service gaps, and support evidence-based
solutions for patients with severe substance use addictions and mental
illness. To support this plan, $20 million was made available for
regional health authorities to invest in more local programs and
supports to improve care for this high-need population.


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