The first group of nurses trained by the province to prescribe addiction treatment medication are getting ready to begin their work.

Thirty RNs and registered psychiatric nurses (RPNs) will complete their training this month to prescribe Suboxone, which is a first-line opioid treatment medication.

Mental Health and Addictions Minister Sheila Malcolmson says far too many illicit drug users face the risk of overdosing while using toxic street drugs.

She says “expanding access to addiction medications is essential to getting a handle on this crisis.”

BC Is the first province in Canada to authorize RNs and RPNs to prescribe controlled drugs and substances.

It’s the first step in expanding the scope of practice for nurses to let them prescribe addiction treatment medications.

The Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions says that since Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s order was made, “the Province and its partners have been working to meet the conditions in the order.”

The move required regulatory changes and the creation of the protocols, systems, and comprehensive training plans needed.

The ministry says the work involved many aspects of the health-care system and nursing practice.