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During the dual public health crises of opioid overdose and the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses are working in new ways with other health care providers, first responders, service groups, non-profit organizations, volunteers and others to provide care.

​Agencies and resources

The provincial response to the overdose crisis is being led by a number of agencies, including the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and the​ BC Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU). BCCSU is a provincially networked organization with a mandate to develop, help implement, and evaluate evidence-based approaches to substance use and addiction.

BCCSU resources

Support line

The pervasive nature of this over​dose emergency means nurses working across the healthcare system may be encountering clients at risk of overdose. As part of efforts to support healthcare providers, BCCSU has a 24/7 Addiction Medicine Clinician Support Line. This phone line is staffed with addiction medicine experts from across the province who can provide telephone consultation to physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, and pharmacists to help improve the delivery of life-saving, evidence-based addiction care.

Guidance documents

BCCSU provides additional guidance for prescribers and other healthcare providers during the COVID-19 pandemic in Risk mitigation in the context of dual public health emergencies. Nurses can also refer to the centre's opioid use disorder resources.

BCCDC resources

Overdoses can occur anywhere, creating unique challenges for health care providers. BCCDC has published a protocol related to episodic overdose prevention. This protocol can be implemented by employers in a variety of settings to help manage and prevent episodic overdoses. Nurses can also refer to the agency's harm reduction resources.

BCCNM reso​urces 

See Controlled Prescription Program​ for a list of frequently asked questions and additional resources, including a resource related to consulting with or referring to other healthcare providers when prescribing for opioid use disorder (OUD). ​

Meeting standards

It's important to remember that even in situations where nurses cannot provide optimal client care due to circumstances beyond their control (such as working limited resources, in an unfamiliar area, or with an increased client load), they can still meet ​​BCCNM ​Standards of Practice. These situations are usually beyond a nurse's individual control and often require a systems approach for resolution. Work with your supervisor/manager to resolve the situation by proposing solutions that promote safe, ethical and competent care. Know where to find  relevant resources.  

Nurses are responsible for providing the best nursing ​​care possible under the circumstances, setting priorities, using their critical thinking and professional judgment, communicating with their employer, and participating in efforts to improv​e client care. The Duty to Provide Care practice standard provides more information and guidance. 

Need help o​​r support?​

For further guidance​ on understanding and applying the standards of practice, contact our team by completing the Standards Support intake form.​​

900 – 200 Granville St
Vancouver, BC  V6C 1S4

​Toll-free 1.866.880.7101 (within Canada only) ​

We acknowledge the rights and title of the First Nations on whose collective unceded territories encompass the land base colonially known as British Columbia. We give specific thanks to the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ speaking peoples the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) and sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations and the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh-ulh Sníchim speaking Peoples the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation), on whose unceded territories BCCNM’s office is located. We also give thanks for the medicines of these territories and recognize that laws, governance, and health systems tied to these lands and waters have existed here for over 9000 years.

We also acknowledge the unique and distinct rights, including rights to health and wellness, of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples from elsewhere in Canada who now live in British Columbia. As leaders in the settler health system, we acknowledge our responsibilities to these rights under international, national, and provincial law.​