The first phase of CAMH’s new Opioid Overdose Prevention Strategy is now in full swing.
“We are excited about the creation of this tool,” says Alison Watson
Advanced Practice Clinical Leader (Nursing). “We now have a
standardized clinical form that will support a consistent approach both
to assessing risk of opioid overdose, and simultaneously providing
prevention education and resources to clients who use opioids or street
“The tool encapsulates all of the current evidence we have
found about educating and empowering clients and clinicians to have a
guided conversation about reducing the risk of opioid overdose,” says Andrea Tsanos,
Advanced Practice Clinical Leader (Psychotherapy). “We hope clinicians
will see the tool as a useful and streamlined way to support these
crucial conversations surrounding this very real risk.”
Another key aspect of the strategy, a new partnership with Pharmacy Services, has been operational since the beginning of August. Clinical Pharmacist Tianna Costa now regularly attends MAARS
Phase 1 Intake groups, family education sessions, plus regular drop-in
sessions that occur twice weekly at 60 White Squirrel Way. In addition
to Naloxone training and kit provision, Costa also supports outpatient
teams by conducting medication reviews, answering drug information
questions, and providing medication education to clients, as it pertains
to decreasing risk of opioid overdose. Costa educates clients on opioid
overdose risks and the benefits of obtaining a Naloxone kit. So far
this month, she has trained 36 clients, family members and CAMH staff on
naloxone, and has provided each of them with kits.
Clinical Pharmacist Tianna Costa provides face-to-face education on how Naloxone works.
has been a lot of interest from family members,” says Costa. “They
understand that if there is an opioid overdose it won’t be the user who
administers the Naloxone, it will be a friend or family member. Family
members sometimes hit a roadblock where they can’t get a loved one to
stop using. So it can be quite empowering for them to know that they
have a Naloxone kit that could potentially save a life.”
believes the face-to-face education she is doing at CAMH will help
destigmatize Naloxone so that it becomes a standard part of everyone’s
emergency first aid kit.
“This is a pro-active harm reduction
strategy, it is a new role for pharmacists,” says Costa. “If someone
wants to hear more about how to reduce opioid overdose risk, including
Naloxone kits, I’m right there to provide the service. That’s the best
way to get this information, and these kits out there.”
phase of the Opioid Overdose Prevention Strategy is focused on the most
at-risk clients. In the months ahead it will be expanded to the
Emergency Department and other services.