The drug programs department has several functions:
- Oversight of the quality assurance activities of the Prescription Review Program (PRP). The PRP is an educational and remedial program, which assists physicians with the challenging task of prescribing opioids, benzodiazepines, stimulants and other potentially addictive medications with appropriate caution. The work of the program is informed by the PharmaNet database.
- Administration of the Controlled Prescription Program pertaining to ordering of duplicate and methadone prescription pads.
- Recommendations to Health Canada regarding physicians obtaining authorizations to prescribe methadone for analgesia under subsection 56(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Authorizations may be full or temporary (up to 60 days).
For information about methadone for opioid use disorder, contact the BC Centre on Substance Use.
Overdose Prevention and Response Training
Toward the Heart is a provincial harm reduction initiative designed to equip members of the public to respond in case of an opioid overdose.
Physicians should consider providing patients who may be at risk of overdose with naloxone. The BC Centre for Disease Control has a Take Home Naloxone Program, which provides information to health-care workers and the public.
For more information about the program or to find the nearest training site, visit the Toward the Heart website.
Naloxone available in BC without a prescription
Naloxone is available outside of pharmacies without a prescription. It is important that anyone administering naloxone call 9-1-1 first, and be aware that naloxone may cause withdrawal symptoms for the patient. Family and friends should be adequately instructed on how to recognize the signs of overdose, how to administer naloxone, and how to monitor the patient’s progress until help arrives.
For more information and resources regarding naloxone, visit the College of Pharmacists of BC website.
RACE Rapid Access to Consultative Expertise
RACE was created to enhance patient care and provide timely treatment advice. Easier access to the specialist reduces wait times or eliminates the need for referral, and can triage utilization of walk-in or emergency department services. The family physician or nurse practitioner may phone the RACE line and either speak to a specialist immediately, or receive a return call within two hours.
RACE is available in the following regions:
- Vancouver Coastal/PHC
RACE local calls: 604-696-2131
Toll free: 1-877-696-2131
- Fraser Valley RACE
South Island RACE
Kootenay Boundary RACE
Toll free: 1-844-365-7223
Toll free: 1-855-605-7223
For more information, visit the RACE website.
RAAC Rapid Access Addiction Clinic
The RAAC is designed to connect patients seeking treatment for substance use disorders with evidence-based treatment including Suboxone or methadone in order to stabilize the patient in the short term, and subsequently transfer them to a community care provider for ongoing monitoring, support and rehabilitation. For patients without a regular health care provider, the RAAC will assist in linking them to one. All services are free.
RAAC is available in the following regions:
News from Drug Programs
- College Connector Volume 6 | No. 2 | March / April 2018
- College Connector Volume 6 | No. 1 | January / February 2018
- College Connector Volume 5 | No. 6 | November / December 2017
- College Connector Volume 5 | No. 5 | September / October 2017
- College Connector Volume 5 | No. 4 | July / August 2017
- College Connector Volume 5 | No. 3 | May / June 2017
- College Connector Volume 5 | No. 2 | March / April 2017
- College Connector Volume 5 | No. 1 | January / February 2017
- College Connector Volume 4 | No. 6 | November / December 2016
- Suboxone® (buprenorphine-naloxone)
- News Release | July 4, 2016: Important notice regarding Suboxone®
- News Release | June 6, 2016
- College Connector Volume 4 | No. 2 | March / April 2016
- How well do you really know your patient? When prescribing controlled medication, be prepared to ask them more questions than you think.
- College Connector Volume 4 | No. 1 | January / February 2016
- Benzodiazepines are not as helpful as originally thought.
- Need a consult in a hurry? Try RACE.