Dr. Sharon Vipler
Dr. Sharon Vipler, Fraser Health’s incoming division lead for addiction medicine, says we can help people on their journey to better health and well-being by providing effective and accessible treatment.

Three new opioid agonist treatment (OAT) clinics are now open in Langley, South Surrey/White Rock, and Port Moody.

SURREY – Fraser Health is now offering people who are concerned about their use of opioids access to effective treatment for addictions to opioid drugs in the form of opioid agonist treatment (OAT) in three new locations: Port Moody, White Rock and Langley. These new clinics will immediately provide first-line treatment with medications like Suboxone and methadone.

We are ensuring more people have access to treatment and supports when they need it and where they need it,” said Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy. “Access to OAT stabilizes and saves lives while connecting people to supports that help them on their pathway to hope and healing.”

OAT is administered in a clinical setting and helps to manage the symptoms of cravings and withdrawal, better enabling a person to engage in therapy, counselling and support. People can seek opioid treatment services without a doctor’s referral. In addition to providing clients with medication, these clinics connect people to other health care services and community supports.

Evidence suggests that over time, OAT will better allow a person to engage in further substance use treatment, decrease the risk that a person will use illicit substances, decrease a person’s risk of acquiring HIV, and decrease their risk of a fatal overdose.

“These clinics can help people access evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder. On therapy, as their opioid use disorder stabilizes, people are better able to manage their health and access counselling and other supports,” said Dr. Sharon Vipler, Fraser Health’s incoming division lead for addiction medicine. “By providing effective and accessible treatment, we can help people along their journey to better health and well-being.”

The three new OAT clinics will add to the eight that are already operating throughout Fraser Health in Abbotsford, Burnaby, Maple Ridge, Chilliwack, Mission, and Surrey.

In the period from October 2017 to September 2018, the eight existing clinics have connected people to treatment more than 1,300 times.

OAT clinics are one element of Fraser Health’s strategy to address the overdose emergency in the region, which also includes prevention, early intervention, harm reduction, and treatment. This strategy supports the work of the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions (MMHA) to take action to save lives, end stigma, and connect people to treatment and recovery. Through the development of a comprehensive mental health and addictions strategy, MMHA is working to develop a seamless and connected pathway forward in response to the overdose crisis and to better serve British Columbians with a system of mental health and addictions care here in British Columbia.

For more information about what Fraser Health is doing to address the overdose emergency, please visit fraserhealth.ca/overdose.

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