Primary Health Care Opioid Response Initiative
Alberta has dedicated $56 million towards urgent actions to address the opioid crisis, including $30 million dedicated to recommendations made by the Minister’s Opioid Emergency Response Commission. Of the $30 million, $9.5 million provincial grant (over three years) has been established for primary health care. The grant will support increased access to services and provide training for primary care providers to offer treatment, medication, and care to patients and families affected by the opioid crisis.
The Alberta College of Family Physicians, Alberta Medical Association (AMA), and Alberta Health Services (AHS), have committed to work together with Alberta Health (AH) to lead this essential work for primary care.
The ACFP will be the secretariat for the grant and will work alongside with key stakeholders to ensure the response includes engagement and guidance from primary care physicians, their teams, and Primary Care Networks (PCNs), and their patients. The ACFP’s support and focus in the Opioid Crisis response began since in late 2016 when it struck the Opioid Crisis Response Task Force—it is with their dedication, determination, and also the commitment of the Board, that ACFP remains driven to support the needs of their members and patient communities.
Primary Health Care Opioid Response Objectives
As front-line primary care providers, family physicians are well positioned to understand the complexity and scope of the opioid crisis and, therefore, must contribute to the design and delivery of a response that is both swift and decisive, and that can be implemented with the flexibility to work with supports available in any community. The response includes:
- Urgent Opioid Response: Addressing urgent needs of those in crisis through distribution of naloxone kits and provision of Opioid Agonist Therapy (OAT) within primary care settings;
- Enhanced Provider Decision Support, Knowledge Translation and Education: Changing current practice within primary care clinics and PCNs to better care for individuals using opioids;
- Enhanced Opioid Related Service Delivery through PCN Zone Committees Engagement, Planning, and Implementation: Developing new integrated service delivery models coordinated with partners including Alberta Health Services (AHS) addiction and mental health services and community services.
Watch for opportunities to respond to the opioid crisis within your clinic and PCN and take part in upcoming training and practice planning to improve support for your patients using opioids or with opioid use disorder.
More information is available in the Alberta Health press release on the Primary Care Opioid Response Initiative.