Go back

An ED initiative to support opioid agonist therapy and harm reduction.

Overdose rates in British Columbia continue to rise, despite a public health emergency being declared in April 2016. Last year, 492 illicit drug toxicity deaths occurred within the VCH region. Of the 492, 82 or 17% were discharged from a VCH ED fewer than 30 days before their death.

Given that people using opioids frequently visit EDs, EDs are in a prime position to support these patients and act to mitigate the lethal impacts of the toxic drug crisis.

SURkit – the substance use response toolkit – is a best practice toolkit that brings together the resources ED staff need to deliver quality care to patients presenting with substance use disorders.

SURkit will help EDs provide patients with low-barrier access to:

  • Take-home naloxone kits
  • Supplies for harm reduction and safer consumption
  • Opioid agonist therapy (OAT) – initiation including Buprenorphine/naloxone to go packs
  • Opioid agonist therapy (OAT) – provision of missed doses
  • Referral to community outreach, to substance use care and harm reduction support
  • Timely follow-up post ED discharge

The goals for the SURkit initiative are based on the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians’ (CAEP) 2020 position statement on ED management of people with opioid use disorder. SURkit is rolling out across 13 VCH/PHC EDs to ensure more uniform substance use care and emphasizing non-stigmatizing care, harm reduction, substance use stabilization, treatment initiation and supported transition of care.

For SURkit resources, visit: www.vch.ca/surkit

SURkit is a partnership of the VCH Regional Addiction Program, VCH Regional Emergency and Trauma Services Program and Providence Health Care.



Add public comment…


See All