BC ECHO on Substance Use Program Overview

BC ECHO on Substance Use program supports primary care providers and their teams in BC to enhance their competencies in the clinical management of substance use disorders and align their practice with the best available evidence in this field.

Hosted by the BC Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU), BC ECHO on Substance Use builds on existing clinical partnerships to ensure optimal reach for knowledge dissemination, particularly in rural, remote, and Northern communities. BC ECHO on Substance Use is overseen by an interdisciplinary team of addiction experts representing different substance use organizations and partners across BC.

BC ECHO on Substance Use is made possible through through a financial contribution from Doctors of BC with support from BC’s Ministry of Health and Ministry of Mental Health & Addictions. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of Doctors of BC, the Ministry of Health, or the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions.

The program has three components: the Project ECHO series called the BC ECHO on Substance Use, the podcast series called Addiction Practice Pod, and our monthly newsletters.

Goals of the BC ECHO on Substance Use Program

Employees giving hands and helping colleagues to walk upstairs

Building a community of practice

BC ECHO on Substance Use brings together interdisciplinary healthcare providers in a virtual network to expand collective knowledge, share resources, hear expert advice, and develop expertise.

Employees giving hands and helping colleagues to walk upstairs

Expanding clinical knowledge and skills

Through short lectures and case presentations, care providers can address their knowledge gaps, gain competencies, and enhance their capacity to deliver substance use disorder treatment in primary care settings.

Employees giving hands and helping colleagues to walk upstairs

Improving access to substance use care

BC ECHO on Substance Use aims to expand access to substance use disorder care for patients by increasing the number of providers with expertise in substance use disorder care.

Employees giving hands and helping colleagues to walk upstairs

Supporting evidence-based practice

Using provincial guidelines for managing substance use disorders as a foundation, BC ECHO on Substance Use contributes to improving continuity and quality of care, and, thus, health outcomes for patients.



Project ECHO (Extension for Community Health Outcomes) is a global movement that is changing the way clinical knowledge is delivered and disseminated. This evidence-based approach uses interactive online education sessions to engage rural and remote health care providers, enhance competencies in a given health speciality area, facilitate uptake of evidence-based practices, and improve health outcomes for patients. 

The Project ECHO Model is based on the premise of moving knowledge, not people. It has been successful in increasing access to specialized expertise and reducing geographic disparities in patient care, particularly in rural and remote regions. 

The Project ECHO model was developed at the University of New Mexico, and it is based on 4 guiding principles: 

  1. Use technology to leverage scarce resources 
  2. Share “best practices” to reduce disparities 
  3. Apply case-based learning to master complexity 
  4. Evaluate and monitor outcomes 


BC ECHO on Substance Use is a free, CME accredited, virtual learning community that uses an interactive, online platform to link health care providers to a core interdisciplinary team with expertise in the clinical management of substance use disorders. Participants meet online once a month for hour-long sessions that include short lectures and case-based presentations. Participants are encouraged to submit de-identified cases to present during ECHO sessions. Interdisciplinary experts and participants discuss each case and collectively develop appropriate recommendations. 


BC ECHO on Substance Use sessions are primarily intended to be a resource for primary care providers (nurse practitioners and primary care physicians); however, we encourage all care professionals serving individuals with substance use disorders and their families to attend. 


BC ECHO on Substance Use sessions contain practical, evidence-based guidance on a range of topics concerning the delivery of effective substance use disorder care in primary care settings. The focus of each short lecture and corresponding case presentation is selected to address key knowledge gaps in this field and empower primary care teams to treat patients with substance use disorders in their own communities. See the list of upcoming sessions. 

Session topics include: 

  • Updates on the Risks and Harms of Alcohol Use: Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Health 
  • Care Guidance for Benzodiazepine Prescribing 
  • Principles and General Approaches to Managing Co-occuring Substance Use Disorders 
  • Special Considerations for Opioid Use Disorder in Youth 
  • Updates to the Opioid Use Disorder Practice Guideline 
  • And more! 


BC ECHO on Substance Use sessions are one hour in length. They consist of three main components: a brief presentation on a specific topic, a de-identified case presentation by a participant, and a collaborative discussion to develop recommendations to support the case presenter. 

All you need to join the sessions is a computer with a webcam, or a smartphone, with the Zoom application downloaded. See our Connecting to Zoom Guide for further information. 


You can sign up for an upcoming ECHO session anytime. After signing up, the Zoom connection information will be shared so that you can join the ECHO session. 


All participants are encouraged to contribute clinical cases to ECHO sessions. Cases enhance learning for everyone and provide the presenter with an opportunity to receive valuable insight and clinical support directly applicable to their practice. To submit a case, please download the form and submit to [email protected].