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.
Recent trends in opioid prescribing and related adverse events have suggested that there may be important differences in these patterns between men and women. For these reasons, and given stakeholder feedback received following the publication of our April 2017 report on trends in opioid-related deaths across Ontario, we have generated a supplemental report outlining some of the trends and characteristics of opioid-related deaths, stratified by sex.