Drug Programs

The drug programs department has several functions:

  • Oversight of the quality assurance activities of the Prescription Review Program (PRP). The PRP is an educational and remedial program, which assists physicians with the challenging task of prescribing opioids, benzodiazepines, stimulants and other potentially addictive medications with appropriate caution. The work of the program is informed by the PharmaNet database.
  • Administration of the Controlled Prescription Program pertaining to ordering of duplicate and methadone prescription pads.
  • Recommendations to Health Canada regarding physicians obtaining authorizations to prescribe methadone for analgesia under section 56 of the  Controlled Drugs and Substances ActAuthorizations may be full or temporary (up to 60 days).

For information about methadone for opioid use disorder, contact the BC Centre on Substance Use

Overdose Prevention and Response Training

Toward the Heart is a provincial harm reduction initiative designed to equip members of the public to respond in case of an opioid overdose.

Physicians should consider providing patients who may be at risk of overdose with naloxone. The BC Centre for Disease Control has a Take Home Naloxone Program, which provides information to health-care workers and the public.

For more information about the program or to find the nearest training site, visit the Toward the Heart website.

Naloxone available in BC without a prescription

Naloxone is available outside of pharmacies without a prescription. It is important that anyone administering naloxone call 9-1-1 first, and be aware that naloxone may cause withdrawal symptoms for the patient. Family and friends should be adequately instructed on how to recognize the signs of overdose, how to administer naloxone, and how to monitor the patient’s progress until help arrives.

For more information and resources regarding naloxone, visit the College of Pharmacists of BC website.

RACE Rapid Access to Consultative Expertise

RACE was created to enhance patient care and provide timely treatment advice. Easier access to the specialist reduces wait times or eliminates the need for referral, and can triage utilization of walk-in or emergency department services. The family physician or nurse practitioner may phone the RACE line and either speak to a specialist immediately, or receive a return call within two hours.

RACE is available in the following regions:

For more information, visit the RACE website.

News from Drug Programs

2016