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Safety and Use of Opioids

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, geographic variation in opioid prescribing and the impact of policy and education interventions.

Recent Research

High-Dose Opioid Prescribing and Opioid-Related Hospitalization

This study investigates whether national clinical practice guidelines released in 2010 and provincial drug policy legislation implemented in 2011 impacted the prevalence of high-dose opioid prescribing and rates of hospital visits for opioid toxicity in Ontario.

Opioid Use and Related Adverse Events in Ontario

This report and associated interactive resources evaluate the variation in opioid prescribing, opioid-related hospitalizations and emergency department visits, and opioid-related deaths across Ontario’s 49 counties and 14 Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs).

High Strength Opioid Formulations in Ontario: By the Numbers

This rapid analysis reports the utilization of high strength formulations of long-acting hydromorphone, morphine and fentanyl and their usage among palliative care patients to inform discussions on reimbursement changes within the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) program.

All Research on Safety and Use of Opioids

Please note that this report is NOT COMPLETE and is still in progress. Click below if you would like to continue.