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Project Report

Facilitating medical withdrawal from opiates in rural Ontario

Submitted: 22 April 2012
Revised: 25 July 2012
Published: 23 October 2012

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Author(s) : Kiepek N, Hancock L, Toppozini D, Cromarty H, Morgan A, Kelly L.

Niki Kiepek

Citation: Kiepek N, Hancock L, Toppozini D, Cromarty H, Morgan A, Kelly L.  Facilitating medical withdrawal from opiates in rural Ontario. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2012; 12: 2193. Available: (Accessed 17 October 2017)


Context:  The abuse of oxycodone in Northwestern Ontario, Canada, has escalated at alarming rates raising concerns that opiate use has reached epidemic proportions, particularly among the First Nations communities. The authors were involved in establishing Ontario’s first rural inpatient medical withdrawal unit to serve patients seeking abstinence.
Issues:  The development of the medical withdrawal support services (MWSS) required creative and adaptive strategies to respond to the geographical, cultural and institutional circumstances.
Lessons learned:  Key factors to support program efficacy and successful outcomes for clients during the inaugural eight months of operation are interprofessional and collaborative approaches with a cultural awareness.

Key words: addiction, Canada, First Nation, medical withdrawal.

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