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Opiate Addiction and Treatment Options, 2018

Partner: First Nations Health Authority Northern (FNHA)

On April 19, 2018, in Prince George, BC, SE Learning provided a presentation to a group of 30 First Nations Health Authority Northern (FNHA) nurses on opiate addiction and treatment options. The presentation was provided as part of the nurses’ FNHA sponsored in-service.

The session was delivered by Friederike Ballantyne, RPN and Nurse Practitioner from Sagkeeng First Nation Health. The presentation covered some US and Canadian data on opiate overdose rates and trends, and outlined aspects and diagnostic criteria (DSM V) of substance use disorder. It then covered theories of addiction. Physical dependence, tolerance and withdrawal symptoms were presented.  Twelve current recommendations for prescribers were explored with respect to opiates and chronic pain management.

Screening and Assessment Tools, Prochaska’s Stages of Change Theory and the approach of Motivational Interviewing were discussed including examples and some discussion. 

The Nurse’s role in advocacy and the importance of the therapeutic nurse-client relationship when helping someone with addiction were explored. Harm reduction approaches including safe use strategies, needle exchange and naloxone kit use were presented.

Opiate Replacement Therapies, including Methadone and Suboxone, were then discussed in some detail. Handouts included sample assessment tools such as then AUDIT, DAST, SASSI, and opiate dose equivalence chart and BC’s Overdose Survival Guide.

Participants engaged in discussion and had many questions. They expressed appreciation for the presentation, indicating they found the topic and content relevant to their work.