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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Addiction, Relapse and Recovery

There is growing recognition by health regulators that addiction is a disease for which recovery pathways exist, and that those recovery pathways should be separate from complaints and discipline. CDSBC operates in this manner and works with registrants seeking treatment. The way CDSBC deals with health matters is confidential.

If you suffer from an addiction/dependency disease, you have a duty to protect the safety of patients and legal/ethical obligation to cease practice immediately and notify CDSBC in confidence through Manager, Monitoring and Compliance, Moninder Sahota's direct phone line: 604-714-5300 (ext. 5345).

Additionally, if you are aware of another CDSBC registrant's addiction/dependency, it is your professional, ethical and legal duty to report it to the College.

What will happen next?

CDSBC's collaborative approach to treatment and monitoring guides registrants through treatment and provides a pathway back to safe practice. The essential elements of the addiction recovery pathway typically include:


​Practitioner's agreement to voluntarily withdraw from practice until deemed medically fit to return (failing a voluntary agreement, CDSBC has the ability to take action under the Health Professions Act - section 35)

- Counselling support is available through the MAP and DWP Programs

- Access to practitioners able to step in as locums (to maintain the practice on behalf of the practitioner while undergoing treatment) can be accessed through the BCDA


​Assessment by a physician with addiction medicine expertise recognized by CDSBC


​Treatment (in accordance with expert recommendations)


​Post-treatment assessment and planning for return to work


A formal agreement with CDSBC to fulfill certain conditions for return to practice (and during continued practice)


Upon return to work, a period of ongoing monitoring by the addiction medicine expert and the treatment team, which includes monitored return-to-work protocols

What happens if I relapse?

Addiction is a chronic brain disease with a complex etiology and a tendency for relapse; however, success rates for professionals who enter a structured program are high. The data for physicians who undergo rigorous standards of treatment and monitoring (similar to those of the CDSBC Wellness Program) indicates that 5-year abstinence rates from substance abuse disorders are in excess of 80 per cent, which far outperforms other treatment programs*.

Should relapse occur:

  • You will be required to cease practice to ensure patient safety and be reassessed by a physician, acceptable to the College, who has addiction medicine expertise and experience.
  • You will be re-evaluated and an appropriate course of action will be determined by the physician.
  • Return to work may occur when any recommended treatment conditions have been met, you are deemed fit to return, and an updated agreement is entered into with the College.

*Six lessons from State Physician Health Programs to Promote Long Term Recovery: DuPont, M.D. and Skipper, G.E. 2012; Journal of Psychoactive Drugs Vol. 44(1), 72-78

Questions about health matters? Contact CDSBC’s Manager, Monitoring and Compliance, Moninder Sahota to discuss in confidence. 604-714-5300 (ext. 5345)

Your health plays an important role in your professional life.

Read the Emotional Health and the Dentist article series to learn more.