In early 2017, the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, released a new guideline for the Clinical Management of Opioid Use Disorder. On June 5, 2017, this guideline became the provincial reference tool for all health care professionals in BC involved in treating patients with opioid use disorders.

The guideline recommends Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone®) as the preferred first-line pharmacotherapy for treating patients with an opioid use disorder.

Buprenorphine/naloxone is a 4:1 combined formulation of buprenorphine and naloxone administered as a sublingual tablet(s). It is available as 2mg/0.5mg or 8mg/2mg tablets, which may be halved and/or combined as necessary to achieve prescribed doses.

Methadone is a second line option when buprenorphine/naloxone is contraindicated or unfeasible, and slow-release oral morphine is a third line option when both the first and second-line treatments are ineffective. 

The College collaborated with the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use to build awareness and understanding of the new guidelines. A series of ReadLinks articles were published which focused on the new guidelines for the treatment of substance use disorders, including:

New Opioid Agonist Treatment Policy

To support the new opioid agonist treatment options, Professional Practice Policy-66 was amended to include policy guides for Buprenorphine/Naloxone Maintenance Treatment and Slow Release Oral Morphine Maintenance Treatment. The existing policy guide for Methadone Maintenance Treatment continues to be in effect.

The policy amendments and two new guides came into effect on January 1, 2018

The amended Professional Practice Policy-66, policy guides and additional resources are available at

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