Narcotic transition service provider licensing

Service providers who offer or provide narcotic transition services must be licensed by the Alberta government.

Service providers are required to hold a licence under the Mental Health Services Protection Act.


Narcotic transition service providers must meet quality and safety requirements and be licensed under the Mental Health Services Protection Act and the Mental Health Services Protection Regulation.

The regulation is supported by the Community Protection and Opioid Stewardship Standards that set out mandatory quality and safety standards for narcotic transition service providers.

The regulation only authorizes a regional health authority like Alberta Health Services to be licensed and provide narcotic transition services.

Narcotic transition services use high potency opioid narcotics to treat patients with severe opioid use disorder who have been unable to initiate or stabilize on conventional opioid agonist treatment (OAT) medications. Under these highly specialized services, patients are stabilized on a high-potency opioid and provided comprehensive recovery-oriented supports. Best efforts are made to transition them under medical oversight to evidence-based opioid agonist treatment at the earliest possible opportunity.

This regulatory framework ensures narcotic transition services are provided with the most appropriate medical oversight. It supports movement to treatment and recovery, and protect communities against the harms of diversion.

The framework:

  • requires licensing, except in the following cases:
    • if high potency opioid narcotic drugs are not used (the use of buprenorphine, methadone and slow-release oral morphine is not impacted by the regulation)
    • if the purpose of using high potency opioid narcotic drugs is to treat a condition other than opioid use disorder, the regulation does not apply
    • if high potency opioid narcotic drugs are used in a hospital only to stabilize a patient with opioid use disorder during their treatment for a different condition, the regulation does not apply
    • if an existing patient of a licensed narcotic transition service provider requires continued treatment at a hospital, emergency department or a Mental Health Act facility, those places do not need a licence but they do need to follow the regulation
  • ensures:
    • clinical oversight of patients is provided by an addiction medicine physician
    • best efforts are made to transition patients from high potency opioid narcotics to evidence-based OAT medications at the earliest possible opportunity
    • patients have service agreements and individual treatment plans developed in consultation with them
  • ensures service providers meet other standards such as policies and procedures for:
    • clinical practice standards
    • patient assessment
    • medication administration and prescriptions
    • referrals to other services such as detox, treatment and recovery services as well as primary health-care services
    • safety and security
    • employee requirements, qualifications and training
    • supporting patient success
    • patient absence, discharge and temporary exclusion from service provision
    • treatment of patients with dignity and respect
    • record creation, maintenance and retention
  • gives government authority to address complaints and concerns and to amend, suspend or cancel a service provider's licence

Complaints or concerns

All licensed narcotic transition service providers in the province are required to have a complaint process.

If you have concerns about the services you or someone else is receiving from a narcotic transition service provider, contact the service provider first.

If your concern or complaint is still unresolved, contact us if it is about:

  • requirements in the Mental Health Services Protection Act, Mental Health Services Protection Regulation, or the Community Protection and Opioid Stewardship Standards not being followed
  • an unlicensed service provider providing narcotic transition services

Complaint resolution

When you contact Compliance and Monitoring:

  • a complaints officer will collect the necessary details to follow up on your concern – have as much of the following information available as possible:
    • name and address (including municipality) of the facility or service provider
    • a brief summary of your concern or complaint and when it occurred
    • names, titles and contact numbers of people you have spoken to about your concern or complaint (for example, the manager, senior manager or board member) and their involvement in trying to resolve it
  • we will assess the risks associated with your complaint, and may conduct an investigation or contact other relevant authorities, or both, as required
  • you will receive a follow up letter with the outcome of your complaint
  • we will make every effort to protect your identity
    • Personal and health information is managed in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Health Information Act.

If you have a concern about possible abuse, contact the Provincial Abuse Line at 1-855-4HELPAB (443-5722).

Incident reporting

Licensed narcotic transition service providers must report to Alberta Health any serious injury or death that occurs in relation to the provision of services. They must also report any situation that may be injurious to the safety or health of patients or that may jeopardize the service provider’s ability to provide services.

Albertans can share their concerns about a licensed service provider through the complaints and concerns process noted above.

PDF form issues

Fillable PDF forms do not open properly on some mobile devices and web browsers. To fill in and save the form:

  1. Save the PDF form to your computer – click or right-click the link and download the form.
  2. Open the PDF form with Adobe Reader. Fill it in and save it.

If you are still having problems opening the form, contact PDF form technical support.


Connect with Compliance and Monitoring:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)

Phone: 780-427-8740 for questions about provider licensing
Phone: 780-422-4703 to speak with a complaints officer about concerns regarding services
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Fax: 780-990-0152 (Secure)
Email: [email protected]

Mailing address:
Alberta Health
Attn: Addiction and Mental Health Compliance and Monitoring
Telus House, 13th floor
10020 100 Street NW
Edmonton, Alberta  T5J 0J3