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“We need urgent action from all levels of government. There is a need for local, provincial and federal governments to work together on this,” said Dr. Tara Gomes, a Toronto epidemiologist and the lead principal investigator of the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network.
August 20, 2021 | The Intelligencer | News Article
A new study examining the impact of the ongoing opioid crisis in Ontario has found that, on average, six people a day died from opioid overdoses during the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ontario’s opioid crisis has worsened dramatically during the pandemic, with the homeless population and those who were unemployed accounting for a significant portion of fatal overdoses, a new report has found.
The use of benzodiazepines, prescribed for sleep and anxiety disorders, has declined in Ontario but risen for young women, study says
While overall prescriptions for benzodiazepines in Ontario fell 13 per cent between 2013 and 2019, the report revealed prescriptions for women aged 19 to 24 have risen by 30 per cent in that same timeframe
In Ontario, the report says, 695 people died of confirmed or suspected opioid-related causes in the first three-and-a-half months of the pandemic, an increase of 38 per cent compared to the same period of time before the pandemic began.
While we are aware of shifting drug utilization patterns, the extent and effect on patients and health system costs in Canada remains unexplored. We have no idea how many people are affected by drug shortages in Canada.
The data shows a 21 per cent jump in demand for flu shots in the 2019-20 season, which overlapped with the start of the coronavirus pandemic, as compared to the year before. “We feel it’s probably predicting what we’ll see in the second wave — the demand in pharmacies and clinics,” said Mina Tadrous, a scientist at Women’s College Hospital and an investigator with ODPRN.
“Gomes said more needs to be done to reduce the stigma of not just drug addiction, but having a life-saving antidote capable of counteracting their effects. She said it starts with pharmacies, noting that just over half of the pharmacies actually dispense a drug that’s supposed to be free.”
“Academic detailing in nursing homes may not be an effective intervention to reduce antipsychotic prescribing in an environment where standard quality improvement supports are working,” Mina Tadrous, PharmD, MS, PhD, of [ICES] in Toronto, told Healio Psychiatry. “This study took place at a time when nursing homes were already receiving extensive audit and feedback and there was large media/public attention on the issue.”
“We don’t have any deep understanding of the drug supply across this country … It’s a national issue that we should be all teaming up and trying to do together.”
Mina Tadrous is a pharmacist and researcher in Toronto who monitors pharmaceutical supplies. He said pharmacists are concerned about drugs such as life-saving inhalers that people might stockpile based on misinformation circulating about potential treatments for COVID-19.
The Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario introduced a new dental opioid prescribing guideline in November 2015. The [ODPRN] examined whether introduction of this guideline was associated with changes in opioid prescribing patterns.