Opioids are a group of prescription drugs used to treat pain conditions; however the efficacy and safety of their use in treating chronic non-cancer pain has been widely questioned due to a lack of long-term studies, the availability of various opioid types and potencies on the market, and uncertainty on appropriate dosing. Given that Canada and the United States have the highest per capita consumption of opioids worldwide, this area required further evidence.
The ODPRN has conducted several population-based studies on the safe and appropriate use of opioids in Ontario by investigating the overall trends and geographic variation in opioid prescribing and related deaths, and the impact of policy and education interventions on important patient outcomes.
Emergency physicians provide primary care to patients and often prescribe opioids for acutely painful self-limiting conditions. The objective of this study was to describe patterns of opioid prescribing by emergency physicians and family physicians and to explore the relation between setting of initiation of opioid treatment and adverse events over the subsequent 2 years.