Overcoming barriers to safe opioid prescribing in the North

Opioid Addiction - image: depositphotos.com
Opioid Addiction - image: depositphotos.com

THUNDER BAY – HEALTH – The Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) has launched a new self-directed, interactive online learning module and community of practice workshops designed to improve the opioid prescribing practices of primary care providers in Northern Ontario.

In 2019, NOSM received $500,000 from Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP). SUAP is a federal contributions program delivered by Health Canada to provide financial support to provinces, territories, non-governmental organizations, and key stakeholders to strengthen responses to drug and substance use issues in Canada.

The funding led to the development and launch of a uniquely Northern program for safer opioid prescribing. Best practices are being shared through the new online module for primary care providers in Northern Ontario and are accessible in two ways: 1) Self-directed interactive online learning module that encourages positive practice changes; 2) Communities of practice: facilitator-led, closed, small-group workshops with like-minded primary care providers who discuss real cases in a confidential setting.

The program takes into account the socioeconomic variables in Northern Ontario that differ from those seen in urban centres. It also offers best practice models of care unique to locations in the North where access to multidisciplinary programs may be limited.

“Opioid-related illness and death are having a significant impact in Northern Ontario. This has immediate relevance to primary care providers on both a professional and personal level,” said Dr. Deborah Smith, NOSM Assistant Professor. “It’s about equipping primary care providers with tools to use in their own practice setting, along with the opportunity to exchange ideas and discuss the barriers they face in safely prescribing opioids, which will ultimately improve long term health outcomes for their patients.”

Registration is now open only to primary care providers in Northern Ontario at nosm.ca/cepd.

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