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Mental Health & Addiction: ARNBC Response to the Opioid CrisisThe current opioid crisis is alarming for all British Columbians, and we are very aware of the impact it is having on our frontline nurses and our communities. Nurses have asked us to take a more proactive stance towards supporting those who are experiencing this crisis on a daily basis, whether they are health professionals or individuals in the community.
The very first step for ARNBC was to co-host an Emergency Opioid Forum on December 14th, 2016, with the BC Coalition of Nursing Associations. The goal was to gain a better understanding of how the crisis is impacting nurses and other frontline workers, and come up with tangible, specific steps that will help to demonstrate our support and commitment to standing with them and advocating for them during this difficult time. The forum brought together the nursing profession, other healthcare providers, policymakers, government, first responders and the community for a morning of dialogue, discussion and planning. In the afternoon, several small teams of people visited various sites on the DTES to continue the dialogue and witness firsthand the impacts of this crisis.
The BC Coalition of Nursing Associations is developing a report which will outline next steps for B.C.'s professional nursing associations as we collaborate together to improve the health and well-being of all of those who require additional support at this time. The report will include small, short-term goals (such as the already launched free coffee program), mid-term goals (building volunteer programs to support organizations under stress), and long-term goals (such as advocating for increased first aide training in schools). It will be posted at www.bccna.com and on this page as soon as it is available and will include a checklist, so all members can contribute suggestions for how we can help, and track our progress as we move forward.