Addictions Minister Judy Darcy announced five extra health professional for Kelowna’s opioid agonist treatment clinic in Kelowna on Friday. (Interior Health)

Interior Health opioid addiction clinic adds evening, weekend appointments

Funding will add three new doctors and two nurse practitioners

Interior Health’s opioid agonist treatment clinic in Kelowna is expected to be able to help twice the patients as before following an influx of funding from the province and Interior Health.

On Friday, Addictions Minister Judy Darcy announced that three new physicians and two nurse practitioners would be added to the clinic, which would allow the facility to offer treatment on evenings and weekends.

Opioid agonist treatment (OAT) is an evidence-based, first-line treatment that uses prescribed medications, such as suboxone and methadone.

“Every day, here in Kelowna and across B.C., we see how OAT saves lives, reduces withdrawal symptoms, and helps people find a pathway to healing and hope,” said Darcy. “Expanding access to this life-saving treatment means that more people can get the help they need when they need it.”

The clinic’s increased hours will allow it to adopt a “rapid access model” of walk-in access from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., and appointments in the evening and weekends will help patients who otherwise can’t get in during work hours.

Interior Health board chair Doug Cochrane said that “particularly in light of the ongoing overdose emergency, we need to remove as many barriers to service as possible.”

The overdose crisis claimed 232 lives in Interior Health’s area in 2018.

READ MORE: B.C. opioid overdoses still killing four people a day, health officials say

READ MORE: B.C. moves to curb high number of overdose deaths by recent inmates


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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