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HomeNewsBC nurses able to give safer drug alternatives for those at risk...

BC nurses able to give safer drug alternatives for those at risk of an overdose

BC is still experiencing a record number of monthly overdose deaths due to border closures resulting in a more toxic street drug supply.

Photo of Christine Sorensen supplied by BC Nurses Union

However, registered and psychiatric nurses will now able to prescribe safer alternatives for those at risk of an overdose.

BC Nurses Union President, Christine Sorensen told Vista Radio while she is pleased by the announcement from Dr. Bonnie Henry, a few more details will need to be hashed out.

“One of the concerns that I have is that we don’t have a lot of details yet on how this will be rolled out. I do understand that the BC Centre for Substance Use will be involved in developing the curriculum and the training for registered and psychiatric nurses.”

In the past, only doctors and nurse practitioners were able to prescribe drugs including substitute medications for illicit drug users.

Sorensen admits the COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for our most vulnerable.

“We do know that what is happening is a lot of people are struggling, we are seeing a lot more concerns around mental health and mental health crises and the community nurses who are working out with patients are saying that people are having difficulties coping right now.”

She added giving nurses the ability to provide drug alternatives is a welcomed sight.

“They are both trained experts and are vitally important to the health teams that are working through this crisis and addressing the needs of people who have substance use disorders and both of these people will be able to provide pharmaceutical alternatives to street drugs.”

So far, 909 people have lost their lives to drug overdoses this year including 22 in Prince George.

Northern Health has the highest rate of illicit drug deaths in the province at 35.4 per 100,000 people.

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