More Annapolis Valley physicians are a step closer to being able to prescribe methadone after a training session held Saturday, Dec. 10, in Wolfville. Family doctors, community pharmacists, psychiatrists, nurses and addictions counselors from the Annapolis Valley took part in an Opioid Dependence Treatment course offered through the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. The Annapolis Valley Health Authority organized the course with financial support from the province. “This training means more people in the Annapolis Valley can receive methadone treatment, as well as other types of treatment for opiate addictions,” said Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald. “Having more physicians with their exemption to prescribe methadone will create opportunities for stabilized clients to transfer back to their family doctors, which can in turn open spaces for new clients.” Of the 55 course participants, 14 are physicians who can now apply to Health Canada for an exemption to prescribe methadone for dependency purposes. The training included a 15-hour online course and one day of in-class work. Participants learned how to effectively and safely manage clients receiving methadone and other treatments for opiate addiction. “By training professionals in a variety of fields we will be able to provide comprehensive support at all levels of the healthcare system,” said Janet Knox, president and CEO of Annapolis Valley Health. “We’ve strengthened our collaborative understanding and improved our approach to managing addictions here in the Annapolis Valley.” In mid-October, the province announced $370,000 in funding for methadone treatment to address the significant wait list in the Annapolis Valley. There are currently 32 people taking part in the treatment program, administered by Annapolis Valley Health. There are 30 people on the wait list who are expected to begin receiving treatment in January 2012. The program addresses one of the recommendations of the provincial prescription drug and overdose working group and will serve as a model for other areas of the province. More information about the new opiate addiction treatment program is available by calling 902-679-2392 or 902-825-6828.