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SOS support strategies: Building an opioid crisis response from the ground up

The South Okanagan Similkameen Division of Family Practice, like many other divisions around the province, is creating grassroots, community-based solutions to address the provincial opioid crisis at the local level. The division is committed to stemming the tide of opioid overdoses in its communities through a series of strategies to support patients who have chronic pain and opioid addiction issues, and the physicians who care for them.


Martin St. Clinic in Penticton (a partnership between the division and Interior Health) provides care for unattached patients with mental health and addiction issues. The clinic is now also providing opioid agonist therapy (OAT) to patients already attached to a physician. Once stabilized (no longer on OAT), these patients can return to their family physician to receive ongoing care. Meanwhile, when unattached patients from the clinic are stabilized, the division is working to connect these patients with local family doctors for ongoing care. The Martin St. Clinic accepted 39 new OAT patients in August alone.


The division has also worked with local partners to organize two chronic pain management seminars for patients in Osoyoos and Keremeos, with presenters including a local physician (Dr Peter Entwistle), a pharmacist, a physiotherapist, and representatives from Pain BC. The division is collaborating with the same group of partners to create a physician chronic pain protocol and a curriculum for a three-part group medical visit on chronic pain. This work is being done as part of the SOS Rural Corridor Developing Sustainable Rural Practice Communities Initiative,* in partnership with the Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues (a partnership of Doctors of BC and BC Government).


The SOS division’s support strategies align with the work of other divisions who are supporting their physicians and communities with locally created pain management and opioid prescribing tools, resources, and education sessions.


To learn more about pain management resources created by divisions around the province, visit the Pain Management and Opioid Prescribing page, and read a recent article listing other division-organized education sessions on the topic.


If you are a physician interested in working at the Martin St. Outreach Clinic, please contact Aarin Frigon.


*The SOS Rural Corridor Developing Sustainable Rural Practice Communities Initiative is funded by the Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues, with the goal of engaging governments, First Nations, allied health professionals, and community organizations in prioritizing and addressing local health care issues.


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