Vancouver hospital to send overdose patients home with Suboxone treatment (Dr. Andrew Kestler, ED SPH)

Patients who visit St. Paul’s after an opioid overdose will now leave the hospital’s emergency department with a supply of addiction-treatment pills.

Providence Health Care and Vancouver Coastal Health have launched a pilot program at the downtown hospital that gives these patients bottles containing three days worth of Suboxone, provided by a specially trained addiction nurse. They will form a plan for follow-up care and get clear instructions about when to take the pills.

A nurse will direct the patients toward follow-up treatment and community resources, including the St. Paul’s Rapid Access Addiction Clinic. The free clinic provides people with immediate short-term addictions treatment and transfers them to a community care provider for longer-term rehabilitation.

Dr. Andrew Kestler, an emergency department physician at St. Paul’s and the project’s co-lead, said the program will save lives.

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