B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer says replacement drug therapy is key to combating the overdose crisis.
But the Deputy Registrar of the College of Physicians and Surgeons’ Drug Programs says there are challenges in getting doctors trained in this treatment.
Dr. Ailve McNestry says time is the greatest challenge, particularly in rural areas where doctors are already overloaded.
“Most doctors that I’ve spoken to, and I say to them, ‘would you please take our course that’s coming to your area in a few months’ and they say they’re just too busy; or so many doctors have retired in their community and there are so many patients to be seen and they just don’t want to take on an extra area of practice.”
McNestry says when health authorities are recruiting new doctors she like them to focus on hiring those with interest or expertise in treating addiction.
She says the college offers regular courses instructing doctors how to treat with replacement drugs like methadone and suboxone, they also offer additional training where and when it is requested.
“We respond to local need, for example just on December tenth we were asked about a month prior to that to put on a course in Oliver for a specific reason, so we mobilized our staff and sent out a group and did a one-day methadone workshop in Oliver.”
McNestry says about 150 doctors took the course this year but there is always room for more.