Brady

‘Don’t give up’: Surrey man touts RAAC clinic for opioid addiction

Fraser Health has opened a second Rapid Access to Addiction Care clinic in the region

Surrey has been home to the health region’s first Rapid Access to Addiction Care clinic over the past three years, and now a second such clinic has opened, this time in New Westminster.

Brady Pawlyshyn is among close to 4,200 people who have received opioid agonist treatment, or OAT, at the Rapid Access to Addiction Care clinic in Surrey since it opened in 2017.

The clinic, dubbed RAAC, is located in the Creekside Withdrawal Management Centre, at 13740 94A Ave.

A South Surrey resident, Pawlyshyn says the clinic in North Surrey has helped him deal with his addiction.

“After 10 years of on-off addiction and treatment – and nothing working for me – I was given a choice in a treatment program that I was comfortable with, delivered by a doctor who met me where I was at,” Pawlyshyn, 36, said in a news release from Fraser Health.

The Surrey clinic, which operates from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., has remained open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“My advice for anyone seeking treatment is don’t give up,” Pawlyshyn added. “There is a safe way to get sober; you just have to find the right way that works for you.”

(Story continues below photo)

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PICTURED: Inside a Rapid Access to Addiction Care clinic. (submitted photo/Fraser Health)

A second Fraser Health-operated RAAC clinic is now open at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, in the Mental Health and Substance Use Wellness Centre.

The RAAC assesses and starts clients on medications to treat opioid addiction, including OAT medications Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone), methadone and Kadian (a slow-release oral morphine).

After initial stabilization, RAAC clients are connected to care providers in the community for ongoing treatment, monitoring, and support, Fraser Health says. “For clients without a regular health care provider, the RAAC will assist in linking them to one. The RAAC also provides clients with harm reduction supplies, including safe sharps disposal, as well as training and distribution of Take Home Naloxone.”

At the RAAC, addictions staff, including physicians, nurses, and social workers, are on-hand to assess clients for any substance use, including alcohol. The RAAC accepts referrals from community providers, physicians, nurses and social workers, and people can also drop in without an appointment or referral.

“RAAC is an entry point into a multitude of addiction medicine services,” says Dr. Sharon Vipler, regional department head for Addiction Medicine and Substance Use Services, Fraser Health. “You don’t need a confirmed diagnosis of opioid use or alcohol-use disorder. If you feel there is something problematic about your substance use that is resulting in negative consequences, our teams can provide management options.”

For information about the Rapid Access to Addictions Care (RAAC) clinic in Surrey, call 604-587-3755 or visit fraserhealth.ca. In New Westminster, call 604-527-2904.

In January, a Statistics Canada report said the life expectancy for men born in British Columbia has dropped for the third straight year as of 2018, with experts blaming the opioid crisis as the primary factor.

These findings appear in a new report from Statistics Canada tracking male life expectancy at birth in Canada. It shows male life expectancy has stagnated for the third straight year at 79.9. Female life expectancy has increased from 84.0 to 84.1 years.

It is difficult to overstate the importance of this finding in light of larger historical trends. “For males, the stagnation observed in 2016, 2017 and 2018 is the longest on record,” notes the report. “Since Canada started recording information on deaths in 1921, life expectancy has typically increased from one year to the next, both for males and females.”

The epicentre of this national decline is British Columbia, which recorded the highest drop of all provinces in life expectancy at birth with a rate of 0.2 years.

with a file from Wolf Depner, Black Press Media

• RELATED STORY: ‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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