Saskatchewan nurses now have wider access to help those in need.

Last Wednesday, the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association (SRNA) passed two policies that give nurse practitioners the ability to prescribe medications to help people with opioid disorders. The medications used to treat these disorders include suboxone and methadone, and nurses can also prescribe methadone for pain.

Cindy Smith, Executive Director SRNA, said "RN - Nurse Practitioners, is a category of an RN, have been prescribing controlled drugs and substances for a few years now, since about 2015. But these medications, in particular, were not included at the time."

Prior to this policy, only physicians approved by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan were allowed to prescribe for the Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) and methadone for pain. This new policy advances the scope of practice for Nurse Practitioners, and it enables those RN practitioners that are eligible to apply to prescribe these medications.

Not everyone can apply to use this new ability. Smith added that "They have to be Registered Nurse Practitioners. It's an application process. They typically are already working with this type of client. That would be one of the criteria."

She added that this is in response to the opioid use crisis that's happening and provides those clients with access to another health care professional that can prescribe help.

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