B.C. pharmacists on the frontline to help in opioid crisis

Updated on October 22, 2018 (Originally posted on March 7, 2018) Media Releases

March highlights work of everyday community pharmacists

March 7, 2018 –  While 2017 was marked as the worst year yet in B.C.’s overdose crisis, B.C.’s community pharmacists continue to step in to help patients tackle critical health issues including opioid addiction. Across the province, community pharmacists are on the frontline to help deliver health care for British Columbians.

The month of March marks Pharmacist Awareness Month (PAM), in which the BC Pharmacy Association lets British Columbians know about the role pharmacists play in important health-care delivery - from managing opioid treatment to immunization to accessing primary care - by sharing stories about B.C.’s everyday community pharmacists.

“Pharmacists are the most accessible health-care providers in our communities. From big cities to rural and remote areas, your community pharmacist is there to help you,” says Geraldine Vance, CEO of the BC Pharmacy Association.

Community pharmacists have helped patients with addictions by offering opioid agonist treatments (OAT), which includes methadone, Suboxone and Kadian. For pharmacist Rami Hanania, who practices in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, being there for patients as a check-in whenever they need him, is key.

“Pharmacists can make a difference because we are accessible,” Hanania says. “On a typical day I see patients and I know what they are going through. Many of them are undergoing addiction and withdrawal symptoms. We are here to help.”

Like many community pharmacists, Hanania shares a common goal with his peers – the pharmacist-patient relationship. From urban areas to rural and remote communities where there are no physicians for miles, the more than 1,300 pharmacies in B.C. are one of the most accessible health-care professionals for patients. They provide immunizations, health coaching and chronic disease management.


For more information or media interviews, contact:

Angie Gaddy
Director, Communications
(604) 269-2863