FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – As the province continues to deal with a wave of deaths related to opioids, a new report is out with a handful of recommendations calling on current and incoming doctors and nurses to be armed with additional addiction tools.
The study, co-authored by Doctor Evan Wood with the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV AIDS, contends doctors across the country don’t know enough about treating drug addiction.
It says the number of skilled addiction treatment providers is “particularly dire” in more rural areas and in BC strategies must be developed to support programs outside the Lower Mainland.
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Doctor Wood has called for more formal training to help doctors diagnose and treat the growing epidemic of addiction and among those supporting him is Doctor Seonaid Nolan, a Clinical Assistant Professor at UBC.
She adds across the province, there are only 25 formally trained addiction specialists registered with the American Board of Addiction Medicine, and among its’ recommendations, the study seeks further investment in addiction training at medical schools and continuing education for health professionals.
The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada is in the process of looking at addiction medicine as a specialty and Doctor Nolan says professionals armed with extra addiction tools should be paid more.
Substance abuse is a significant drain on Canada’s 21st century economy as a result of its impact on the heath care and criminal justice systems and in 2006 the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse released the results of a 2002 study, which estimated the total societal cost of substance abuse at 39.8 billion dollars, that’s $1,267 for every Canadian.