Robson Valley opioid clinic needed: local doctors

An opioid agonist treatment clinic could serve the 3,225 people (2016 Census) living in the communities of Dome Creek, Urling, Crescent Spur, Goat River, McBride, Dunster, Tête Jaune Cache, and Valemount within the the 15,220 square km McBride/Valemount Community Health Service Area. Map courtesy Provincial Health Services Authority.

By Fran Yanor / Legislative Reporter
Published on: Novermber 14, 2020

[Excerpts] The Robson Valley has a community need for a dedicated opioid treatment clinic for people dealing with substance use addictions and mental health issues, say two Valemount physicians.

“We have been looking at trying to start up an opioid agonist therapy clinic,” said Dr. Ray Markham, chief of staff at the Valemount Health Centre. “I certainly don’t think a formal clinic is the panacea, but it may offer a couple layers of depth to the way that we can support members of our community.”

Opioid Agonist Treatment (OAT) provides patients with access to a prescribed opioid alternative, such as methadone or suboxone, to help manage substance use cravings and withdrawal symptoms. The medication is part of a larger treatment plan to help stabilize and support people so they can more effectively engage in therapy, counselling, and other aspects of recovery.

“It’s not just about prescribing,” said Markham. “There is a whole bunch of crossover with complex chronic pain and mental health.”

One-stop clinic
“It is super helpful to have a one-stop shop clinic,” said Maureen Davis, executive director of the Canadian Mental Health Association operations in Prince George. “Having a doctor, a nurse practitioner, a social worker, an addiction counselor, having access to all those different kinds of support means you’ve just broadened options for the clients.”

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