Sunday, October 23, 2016

Opioids in Canada

  1. Public health emergencies must be declared more liberally. 
  2. Ongoing, coordinated surveillance. 
  3. Naloxone – freely available
  4. Supervised drug consumption services
  5. Medications for opioid addiction
  6. We must address overprescribing of opioids.
  7. Drug use should be considered a public health issue, not a criminal one.

Fentanyl front lines: Fentanyl-linked deaths triple this year

There have been 555 deaths as a result of illicit-drug overdoses from January through September, eclipsing the 508 drug-related deaths in B.C. in 2015.
The total number of illicit-drug overdoses in September was 56, up from 49 in August, according to the latest statistics released Thursday by the B.C. Coroners Service.
The powerful opioid fentanyl was detected in 302 deaths — 61 per cent of all drug deaths from January through August this year —more than triple the number of fentanyl-related deaths compared with the same period last year.

A summary of ODPRN research on prescription opioid use in Ontario
Click through our Interactive Map on opioid prescribing and
opioid-related hospital visits in Ontario
From 2008 – 2015, the ODPRN conducted several population-based studies to investigate the use of opioids in Ontario. The key objective of these studies was to provide evidence to inform discussion regarding the safe and appropriate use of opioids.
This report summarizes these findings as well as policy and practice implications into four key themes of our research:
  1. Overall trends in opioid use are increasing in Ontario, particularly at doses that exceed guideline recommendations
  2. Safety of opioid use, particularly at high doses, is related to serious adverse events, including risk of overdose death and road trauma
  3. Geographic variation in opioid prescribing, use and safety is apparent and should be considered when designing public health and policy initiatives
  4. The impact of policy and education interventions is varied and will need to involve a combination of regulatory/legislative changes, as well as patient and clinician education to respond to this ever-shifting prescribing environment
View a copy of the ODPRN’s new public report.



Canada is the world’s second-largest per capita consumer of opioids and the fallout is being felt across the country. Last week, a report found that from 2009 to 2014, at least 655 Canadians died as a result of fentanyl, a powerful opioid that is available by prescription and is also manufactured in clandestine labs and sold on the street. Opioid overdose deaths continue to rise across Canada, forcing federal and provincial authorities to respond to this growing epidemic. In Ontario alone, these drugs have killed nearly 2,500 people between 2011 and 2014.

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