Alberta medical students lobby to change approach to opioid crisis IG News

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A group of medical students is calling for better access to evidence-based interventions to help address the opioid crisis in Alberta.

It’s one of three calls to action included in a new report from medical students at the universities of Calgary and Alberta.

“It’s based on evidence, it’s based on science and it’s also based on perceived experiences of people in the community in Alberta,” said Alexander Grant, junior chair of the advocacy committee for the Medical Students’ Union in the U.K.A. edmonton am on Friday.

“Students are also advocating for the results of privately run recovery programs to be tracked and for bridge housing to be prioritized for homeless people being released from emergency rooms.

“We are asking the government to make these changes so that when we become physicians, we have the tools we need to treat people with opioid-use disorder, we have the tools we need to meaningfully address this crisis. Need to address and help people.”

UCP government increasingly moving towards recovery-oriented model and away from harm reduction measures used in B.C.

The province is investing millions to open six recovery communities and reduce the number of supervised consumption sites.

In October 2022, Alberta introduced rules limiting who can prescribe high-strength drugs to people with difficult-to-treat opioid addiction.

“We can’t just expect people who are in crisis or who don’t respond to treatment to go into an abstinence-based program overnight and stop using drugs,” Grant said.

“We need to be able to fine-tune our approach and what each person needs at different points in their lives.”

Former co-chair of Edmonton’s Opioid Poisoning Committee and professor at the University of Alberta, Dr. Ginetta Salvalaggio said a range of options is necessary.

He added that even people who seek treatment can continue to use the drugs in small amounts until they feel more comfortable in their own skin.

“So what supports are there to help people through those periods and those obstacles and those challenges?”

Salvalaggio said growing barriers around access to stable housing and treatment have made it harder for people to seek care.

‘Continuity of Services’

The provincial government says it has invested more than $30 million in harm reduction services in this year’s budget, an increase of $8 million from 2018-19.

“The Government of Alberta is building recovery-oriented systems of addiction and mental health care in Alberta that provide access to a continuum of services, including prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery,” said Press Secretary of Mental Health and Addiction Written by Colin Aitchison. an email.

“This includes services that reduce harm when appropriate.”

Atchison said a newly opened facility, with 36 transition beds, will help bridge the gap for people being discharged from emergency rooms in Edmonton.

Students across the province are gathering on Monday to advocate for their call to action at the legislature.