Province spends $9.5 million for family doctors to help patients struggling with opioid addiction

By The Canadian Press
March 5, 2018 - 6:16am

CALGARY- The provincial government is spending more money to support family doctors during the ongoing opioid crisis.

Brandy Payne, the Associate Minister of Health, announced a provincial grant of $9.5 million over three years to help doctors and other care providers treat patients and families affected by the crisis.

"The goal of the grant is to help provide those resources to family doctors,” Payne said. “Often, when I talk to family doctors about this issue, I hear them say things like I want to help, I want to be there for my patients, but I’m not sure how. Or ‘I don’t know how to initiate someone on Suboxone or methadone. "By working with the College of Family Care Physicians, Alberta Medical Association and other partners, we’re going to be able to equip family doctors with those skills, so if they do have a patient who is struggling with substance use, they’ll be better able to support that patient.”

The grant will equip doctors, nurses and primary care providers to provide increased access to opioid dependency treatment in community clinics, in addition to overdose prevention and naloxone training, and being able to refer patients to proper treatment options.

A total of 3,800 doctors at 1,000 clinics across the province will have access to the new training programs.

The funding comes as the province’s opioid data report was released.

It shows 562 people died from an apparent fentanyl-related overdose in 2017, up from 358 in 2016. When all opioids are factored in, 687 Albertans have died for an apparent opioid overdose last year, up from 559 in 2016.

On Friday, the Blood Tribe near Lethbridge declared a local state of emergency due to a spike in overdoses, including one death.

(The Canadian Press)

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