Interior Health introduces improved overdose surveillance

By Chad Klassen
June 14, 2016 - 4:01pm Updated: June 14, 2016 - 5:35pm

KAMLOOPS — Interior Health has unveilled a new surveillance tool to improve how overdoses are tracked at emergency departments across the regions.

Now when a patient who has overdosed, or is suspected to have overdosed, arrives at an emergency department, their visit will be recorded into a data base, making information on overdoses available in real-time.

"In the past, the data we had on overdoses had significant limitations. It was not available in real time and was difficult to turn into timely action," says IHA Medical Health Officer Dr. Silvina Mema. "The introduction of this new surveillance measure allows us to identify where risks are arising and will enable us to take proactive action to warn and protect people who are at risk.

All 35 emergency departments in the Interior will also now offer patients with naloxone kits, which are nothing new to Royal Inland Hospital. RIH's emergency department was the first in Canada to provide the life-saving kits in March 2014. 

"B.C. was the first province in Canada to establish a province-wide take-home naloxone program," says Health Minister Terry Lake. "Since 2012, more than 8,500 kits have been distributed to people who use opiods, and more than 8,000 people trained to administer naloxone. It's great to hear that now even more people will have access to kits and that Interior Health has enhanced their overdose surveillance."

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