The director of the B.C. Centre on Substance Use says efforts are underway to change the image of addiction medicine from an unattractive discipline to one that's rewarding because patients can dramatically improve their health with treatment.

Dr. Evan Wood says the centre is trying to get medical students to see that addictions treatment is an exciting area with major developments underway. The push comes amid national concerns that stigma and discrimination are preventing physicians from getting training to treat vulnerable patients.

Wood says 25 doctors applied this year for four fellowship spots in addiction medicine within the Vancouver Coastal Health region and funding is needed to allow more physicians to specialize in the discipline.

Doctors of B.C., formerly known as the B.C. Medical Association, has proposed higher fees for treatment of opioid use disorder, which can be more time-consuming than other types of visits. A decision will likely come early next year.