Click on the links below to view the latest media releases that ODPRN distributes, often in collaboration with St. Michael’s Hospital and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), illustrating current ODPRN research and scientists.
A new report from The Ontario Drug Policy Research Network and Public Health Ontario shows the number of accidental drug and alcohol toxicity-related deaths grew to alarmingly high levels in Ontario during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Treatment rates for opioid use disorders among teens, young adults decreasing despite surge in opioid-related harms: report
Rates of opioid-related deaths among Ontario teens and young adults tripled from 2014-2021 and hospital emergency department visits related to opioid use quadrupled over the same period, a new report shows.
The rate of hospital encounters for benzodiazepine-related toxicity rose by 67 per cent for young adults (aged 19 to 24) and 44 per cent for youth (aged 18 or below) in Ontario between 2013 and 2020, according to a new study from ICES and Unity Health Toronto.
A new study from ICES and Unity Health Toronto found that mental health medication use in Ontario children and youth differs by age, between females and male and where individuals live in the province.
Study suggests pharmacists did not overuse their right to prescribe controlled substances during the pandemic
“These findings show that pharmacists were sensible in their use of the CDSA exemption,” says Dr. Mina Tadrous.
For people at high-risk of overdose enrolled in a safer opioid supply (SOS) program, there was a rapid decrease in emergency department visits and hospitalizations soon after initiation, according to a new study led by Unity Health Toronto researchers.
Nearly one in 13 opioid-related deaths in Ontario between 2018 and 2020 occurred among construction workers, and among construction workers who died over half were employed at time of death, according to a new report.
“We found that changes to acetaminophen labels that communicated the risks of overdose and the presence of acetaminophen in over-the-counter products did not affect rates of hospital admission for accidental acetaminophen overdose, ICU admission for accidental acetaminophen overdose and admission for acetaminophen overdoses involving opioids,” writes Dr. Tony Antoniou, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital, Unity Health Toronto, with coauthors.
St. Michael’s scientists receive over $2.6-million in two CIHR competitions to address key COVID-19- related questions
A project funded through the ‘Understanding and mitigating the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children, youth and families in Canada’ Operating Grants, Dr. Tony Antoniou and Dr. Tara Gomes will study hospital admissions and emergency department visits for mental health conditions, emergency department visits for self-harm, and prescriptions for psychotropics.
March 14, 2022 | Media Release
Flexible access to methadone during the pandemic associated with greater likelihood of staying on treatment for opioid use disorder: study
New research has found an Ontario provincial guidance change during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic that recommended that individuals receive rapid access to take-home doses of medication for their opioid use disorder helped people stay on their treatment without increasing their risk of overdose in the subsequent six months.
One in four Ontarians who died of opioid overdose during the pandemic had an interaction with the healthcare system in the week prior to death, suggesting potential missed opportunities for supporting those at risk of overdose, a new report shows.
Chiefs of Ontario calls for action to address rise of opioid-related deaths among First Nations in Ontario
These reports highlight the increase in opioid-related poisoning during the COVID-19 pandemic and the urgent need to address the opioid crisis affecting First Nations in Ontario. “The COVID-19 pandemic emerged amid an opioid crisis in our communities. The findings in these reports reinforce what First Nations leadership, families and communities have been demanding for decades,” said Ontario Regional Chief Glen Hare.
“As guidelines and policies have been developed with the goal of promoting more safe, appropriate opioid prescribing, there has been growing concern about the misapplication of recommendations leading to abrupt tapering of opioid doses,” said the study’s lead author Dr. Tara Gomes, a Scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital and ICES, and a Principal Investigator of the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network.
Nine St. Michael’s-led research projects receive CIHR project grants, totaling more than $5.8 million in support
Led by Dr. Tony Antoniou, a scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, this project will encompass six studies to provide doctors and pharmacists new information regarding the risks of specific drug interactions between opioids and commonly prescribed drugs.
August 5, 2021 | Media Release
Financial disincentives, stigma and discrimination create barriers for people who use opioids to access family doctors, study suggests
People who are treated for opioid use disorder in Ontario are 45 per cent less likely to secure a primary care provider after previously losing access to care compared to people with no recent prescription opioid exposure, according to a new study led by Unity Health Toronto researchers.
Ontario saw a 79 per cent increase in opioid-related deaths during the pandemic with marginalized populations – including people experiencing homelessness and unemployment – particularly impacted, according to a new report that details the circumstances of opioid-related deaths in the province.
Dr. Tara Gomes and her team will be exploring patterns of opioid use and related harm, as well as pathways of health-care use and treatment outcomes among First Nations people – both broadly and in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic – to provide First Nations communities with an understanding of the opioid crisis in their communities.
March 5, 2021 | Media Release
“This inter-professional collaboration, involving researchers, people with lived experience and healthcare providers, explored patterns of [direct-acting antivirals] reimbursement through Ontario’s public drug programs from public records.”
Policy changes to pharmacy-based naloxone provision significantly increased uptake among individuals at a high risk of opioid overdose, suggests new study
“An advantage to the ONPP is that it provides access to this life saving harm reduction medication at pharmacies, where chronic pain patients and patients being treated for an opioid use disorder are already visiting for their other medication,” said Dr. Antoniou.
“This report should act as a call to action for governments and clinicians to provide the supports and services needed to address the needs of people who use drugs across Ontario,” said Dr. Tara Gomes.
Ontarians stockpiled prescription medications at beginning of pandemic, according to new drug monitoring tool
In mid-March, Ontarians stockpiled inhalers and there was a 19.2 per cent spike in the dispensing of Hydroxychloroquine, a malaria medication promoted as a possible treatment for COVID-19 that has since proven to be ineffective, according to a new interactive tool launched Thursday by scientists at the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network.
“The complexity and scope of this issue requires us to apply a comprehensive and collaborative approach that incorporates global insights and comparisons. Our team aims to develop an international consortium which will provide us with the opportunity to develop a common approach to drug shortages and global insights,” explained Tadrous. “Our research will help to inform risk mitigation strategies going forward with application for policy, formulary development, procedure and pricing.”
Ontario saw a rapid increase in naloxone distribution after kits became available at pharmacies, reaching almost 68,000 people in two years
The distribution of naloxone kits in Ontario increased rapidly after they were made available free of charge through community pharmacies and reached almost 68,000 people in a two-year period, according to a study led by researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital of Unity Health Toronto and ICES
One in six adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities newly prescribed an antipsychotic
Nearly one in six adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in Ontario started an antipsychotic medication over six years, and more than one-quarter of them did not have a psychiatric diagnosis, according to a new study by researchers at ICES, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network (ODPRN).
The Ontario Drug Policy Research Network of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario, and Public Health Ontario have released a report analyzing the 1,337 opioid-related deaths in Ontario between July 2017 and June 2018.
There were over 145,000 naloxone kits distributed across Ontario between July 2017 and June 2018. This is approximately one naloxone kit for every 100 Ontarians, according to a new report by researchers at ICES, St. Michael’s Hospital and the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network (ODPRN).
Prescriptions for medications commonly used to treat ADHD have increased over the past 5 years in Ontario
Approximately 1 in 78 Ontarians received a prescription stimulant in 2017 (180,699 individuals), with nearly half of those being children and youth (46 per cent were 18 years old and younger), a new study has found.
The Opioid Chapters features Henry’s story along with those of 10 other people whose lives have been profoundly affected by opioids, a joint project of the Ontario Drug Policy and Research Network (ODPRN) and the website Healthy Debate.
One-third of opioid-related deaths in Ontario were among people actively treated with a prescription opioid in 2016
One-third of opioid-related deaths in Ontario were among people actively being treated with prescription opioids in 2016. However, this proportion has decreased significantly since 2013, according to a new study by researchers at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), St. Michael’s Hospital and the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network (ODPRN).
People who are prescribed a combination pill to manage their high blood pressure are more likely to take their medicine as instructed and have better health outcomes than those who take the same medications prescribed as separate pills, according to a new study published today.
One out of every five deaths among young adults in the United States is related to opioids, suggests a study led by researchers in Canada.
Nearly a quarter of all Ontarians newly prescribed opioids received a daily dose exceeding clinical guidelines
Nearly a quarter (23.9 per cent) of initial opioid prescriptions in Ontario had a daily dose of more than 50 milligram morphine equivalents (MME), exceeding the suggested dose threshold for opioid prescriptions outlined in North American clinical guidelines, according to a new study.
One out of every six deaths among young adults in Ontario is related to opioids, suggests a study led by researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES).
Study finds more people relying on government catastrophic drug plans and big increase in government spending
Government spending for the catastrophic drug program in Ontario rose 840 per cent between 2000 and 2016, during which there was a three-fold increase in the use of this plan, a new study has found.
New study finds 1 in 200 patients prescribed opioids in emergency departments will be admitted to hospital for opioid toxicity
A study published in CMAJ Open shows that emergency physicians contribute significantly to new prescriptions for opioids in Ontario, and that they prescribe opioids at doses which exceed new Canadian guidelines more often than family physicians.
Ontario patients co-prescribed gabapentin and opioids were 49 per cent more likely to suffer an opioid-related death than patients prescribed opioids alone, a new study has found.
Despite a decline in alcohol involvement in opioid-related deaths over past decade, one in five fatal opioid overdoses still involved alcohol in 2013, according to a new study.
Six-year Canadian study shows prescriptions often occur in adults with no psychiatric diagnosis.
New report finds number of people being prescribed opioids to treat pain in Ontario stabilized, but many still exceed recommended daily dose
The rate at which people are being prescribed opioids to treat pain in Ontario has stabilized while the amount of drugs they receive has declined considerably, a new report has found.
Small number of physicians account for majority of the drug prescriptions used to treat people battling opioid addictions, study finds
A small number of physicians prescribe the majority of the drugs used to treat people in Ontario who are battling opioid addictions.
A research paper from St. Michael’s Hospital’s Tara Gomes and her collaborators received the 2017 Article of the Year from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Institute of Health Services and Policy Research.
The rate of opioid-related deaths in Ontario has increased almost four-fold (285 per cent) over the past 25 years.
Study finds opioid prescribing declines following release of national guidelines for physicians, but rates of overdose-related hospital visits continue to climb
The rate of opioid use in Canada has fallen 13.7 per cent since the publication in May 2010 of national guidelines for their use in chronic non-cancer pain.
More than 600 Ontarians died of opioid-related causes in 2013 with opioid prescribing and overdose varying widely across the province
There were 638 opioid-related deaths in Ontario in 2013, approximately one death for every 20,000 Ontarians.
A provincial plan implementing quantity limits on blood glucose test strips for patients with Type 2 diabetes not using insulin does not put those patients at risk.
Nine out of 10 people in Ontario who receive government reimbursement for their prescription high-strength opioid tablets or patches are not palliative care patients.