British Columbia

Rapid access to opioid replacement therapy expands in Victoria

Island Health's Rapid Access Addiction Clinic on Pembroke and Cook opened in February for two days a week, but increasing demand has it now open for four.

'For people who are ready for treatment, that window can be small,' clinic manager says

Island Health's Rapid Access Addiction Clinic in Victoria has expanded its hours citing increasing demand. (Google Streetview)

Island Health is expanding rapidly accessible opioid therapy in Victoria as demand for treatment increases.

The Rapid Access Addiction Clinic on Pembroke and Cook offers streamlined access to opioid replacement therapy and connections for long-term support.

The clinic opened in February for two days a week, but has now expanded to four days a week.

"For people who are ready for treatment, that window can be small," RAAC project manager Shana Hall told All Points West host Robyn Burns. "The idea of having the rapid access clinic is you capture that person when they're ready for treatment and seize that opportunity."

The model is based on the success of a similar program run out of St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver.

Hall says the clinic mainly offers opioid replacement therapy — with medications such as suboxone or methadone — but also helps with follow-up connections including primary care, additional counselling, mental health and substance use services and social supports.

She believes the overdose crisis is not expected to end soon — and RAAC's success in Victoria could lead to the model being tried in other communities on Vancouver Island.

The Pembroke and Cook clinic is open weekdays, excluding Tuesdays.

Listen to the full interview here:

With files from CBC Radio One's All Points West

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