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Island Health launches service for opioid addiction, treatment

New clinic is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Fridays.

Island Health has launched a new clinic to provide support for people who use opioids and are ready for treatment and recovery.

The Rapid Access Addiction Clinic (RAAC) starts opioid users on medications, such as buprenorphone/naloxone, once a day that reduce craving sfor opioids and mitigate the difficult physical symptoms of opioid withdrawl such as pain, nausea, vomitting, diarrhea, sweating, and anxiety and depression.

Dr. Ramm Hering, physician lead, primary care substance use, said the treatment is safer and more effective than other types of therapy.

“As we gain more understanding about the nature of addiction – and opioid addiction in particular, we are learning that the abrupt loss of tolerance that comes with rapid detox can be harmful and contribute to increased risk of overdose,” Hering said.

“Community-based services including treatment with buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) are safer and more effective. They save lives and reduce the societal and personal challenges associated with opioid use disorder.”

In addition to the therapy, the clinic also offers short-term counselling with the goal of promoting long-term recovery and help with connections to follow-up care, including primary care, additional counselling, mental health and substance use services and social supports.

The clinic is located at 1119 Pembroke St., and is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. It is also part of a network of community opioid treatment services where people can seek supports for problematic opioid use. Other clinics can be found on Pandora, at the Cool Aid Health Centre (713 Johnson St.), the Victoria Youth Clinic (533 Yates St.) and Outreach Services Clinic (603 Gorge Road East).

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