(Jodi Brak/Salmon Arm Observer)

B.C. pharmacists hope to be part of local fight to curb opioid crisis

Pharmacists want to stem the number of overdose deaths

B.C.’s community pharmacists welcome the partnership between the B.C. and federal governments that will see more resources made available to fight the province’s opioid crisis.

Today’s announcement of the shared investment of nearly $72 million dollars demonstrates the importance being placed on this issue, according to a news released issued by the BC Pharmacy Association.

Canada’s health minister has announced $71.7 million in emergency funding to help combat the opioid crisis in B.C. this morning.

READ MORE: Health minister announces $72M in emergency funding for B.C.’s opioid crisis

The BC Pharmacy Association and its members urge the government to make integrating pharmacists into the work being done to stem the number of overdose deaths a priority, the release said.

“For more than a year we have been advocating that community pharmacists be allowed to initiate Suboxone therapy for those patients needing access to opioid substitution therapy. We also have encouraged those leading B.C.’s response to the crisis to involve pharmacists in dispensing oral hydromorphone as part of a broader strategy to make clean drugs more widely available to people with opioid use disorder,” says Chris Waller, president of the BC Pharmacy Association.

READ MORE: Kelowna pharmacists play key role in distribution of naloxone kits

In simple terms, community pharmacists and the nearly 1,300 pharmacies serving 153 out of 160 communities across the province have largely been overlooked by those working to contain the crisis.

As B.C. looks towards investing in “hope” initiatives to improve local-level capacity, the association is optimistic that pharmacists will be given the chance to be involved in the development and implementation of these much-needed investments, the release said.

“All British Columbians want to stop the crisis and pharmacists want to be part of the healthcare team that meets the challenge and saves lives,” Waller said.

RELATED: Overdose Awareness Day event hears drug addiction is a health issue, not a moral issue

The British Columbia Pharmacy Association is a not-for-profit, voluntary, professional association of pharmacists and pharmacies. It represents more than 3,200 pharmacists and more than 900 pharmacies throughout B.C.


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