Surrey-Based Opioid Task Force Recognized for Contribution to Opioid Crisis Management
The group of family physicians and nurse practitioners is working to make opioid antagonist therapy more widely available
Surrey, BC, May 2019
For immediate release
Director, Surrey-North Delta Division of Family Practice
- A Surrey-based Opioid Task Force was the recipient of an award proffered by the BC College of Family Physicians
- OAT Force supports health care providers in the delivery of opioid agonist therapy (OAT) - the most effective available treatment for opioid addiction
- OAT Force was founded in May of 2018 by small group of family physicians and a nurse practitioner and currently has 35 members who are working to promote OAT and to develop effective methods of combating the opioid crisis in the Surrey-North Delta area
- With approximately 100 overdose deaths monthly in BC, the opioid crisis is particularly deadly in this province, making treatment and intervention all the more critical
On May 19, 2019 the BC College of Family Physicians announced that the Surrey-North Delta Division of Family Practice’s OAT Force was the 2019 recipient of their Small Changes, Big Difference Award — an award created to recognize “local innovations in practice or health care delivery that improve patient, family or community care.” OAT Force provides health care providers with guidance and training to offer Opioid Agonist Therapy to patients struggling with opioid addiction, as well as to empower their fellow health care providers to do the same.
With 100 or more drug overdose deaths occurring monthly, BC is the epicentre of Canada’s ongoing opioid crisis, where family physicians and other health care practitioners often find themselves on the front lines.
Opioid Agonist Therapy (OAT) is a medication that interacts with opioid receptors in the brain to help counteract cravings. OAT has been shown to be one of the most effective methods of combating opioid addiction, but many health care practitioners haven’t been trained to administer it, or aren’t comfortable doing so.
OAT Force, a Surrey-based, physician-led initiative, offers a unique six-part curriculum for OAT providers that includes information about expanding work flows to accommodate opioid patients and providing trauma-informed care. It also invites interested physicians to join a support and working group as well as to encourage colleagues to participate in the program.
Since its founding in May, 2018, OAT Force has secured a commitment to provide opioid agonist therapy from a number of Surrey and North Delta-based physicians, and the group has grown to include 35 members.
“As the co-chair of the Board of Directors of the Surrey-North Delta Division of Family Practice, I have had the privilege of supporting a number of successful committees and initiatives.
Of these, the OAT Force stands out for being innovative, physician-led, and extremely valuable to our community's physicians and patients who are at the centre of the ongoing opioid crisis.” Dr. Baldev Dhillon, Co-Chair of the SNDFP’s Board of Directors, said in his letter endorsing the OAT Force for the award.
Dr. Lawrence Yang, a family physician and member of the OAT force is similarly enthusiastic: “The humanitarian goal of trying to save lives within the opioid crisis brought together some really wonderful doctors in the community,” he says. “If you don’t feel like you’re part of a team, you can’t tackle complex issues, but now we’re part of a team of 30 doctors who regularly communicate about this issue.”
More information about the BCCCFP can be found here: https://bccfp.bc.ca/about-us/
More information about the Small Changes, Big Difference Award can be found here: https://bccfp.bc.ca/bccfp-awards/small-changes-big-difference-award/
About The Surrey-North Delta Division of Family Practice
Established in 2010, the Surrey-North Delta Division of Family Practice is comprised of nearly 400 physicians at various career stages, 40 resident doctors and 200 Medical Office Assistants from across Surrey and North Delta. Members work collaboratively to improve patient access to local primary care and provide continuous professional support.
The Surrey-North Delta Division of Family Practice brings together family doctors to enhance the delivery of health care services in the community. It is a member-driven non-profit society, created by and for doctors, who understand the needs and realities of serving a community as large and diverse as Surrey and North Delta.
The Division is funded by the Government of BC and Doctors of BC.
More information about the SNDFP can be found here: https://www.divisionsbc.ca/surrey-north-delta