New opioid treatment option being used by Ottawa response team

A new option for treating opioid withdrawal is being utilized in Ottawa.

The Mental Well-being and Response Team, a partnership between the Ottawa Paramedic Service and The Ottawa Hospital, is using Suboxone.

It’s one of the first paramedic teams in Canada to administer Suboxone as a treatment option when responding to calls of suspected overdoses or withdrawal.

Buprenorphine/naloxone, also known as Suboxone, does not reverse an overdose, but relieves the uncomfortable and painful withdrawal symptoms experienced immediately after someone receives Naloxone or after hours to days of abstinence.

In a release, the city says the response team is also expanding its scope of practice and partnerships so individuals assessed through the 9-1-1 system could be eligible for withdrawal symptom relief and new substance use referral pathways.

Paramedics with the response team can treat with Suboxone while a mental health professional can set up connections with addictions and substance use resources through the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre and Ottawa Public Health (OPH) for continued support.

Within 24 hours of receiving Suboxone, an addictions specialist will check in with the individual, offer options for addiction treatment and start work to develop an individual care plan.

The city says the treatment and referral approach to opioid addiction reduces a persons chances of overdosing again in the short-term and increases their chances of long-term recovery.

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