In 2017, the ODPRN was funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) to establish an Ontario Opioid Drug Observatory. This observatory aims to measure, assess and evaluate ongoing use of prescription opioids, opioid-related overdoses, and opioid-related drug policy. The work of the observatory will inform the development of current and future policy in Ontario.
The ODPRN has conducted important research in this area since 2008 which has helped inform policy in the area [learn more about past opioid research here]. Most research conducted in this area in Ontario has been limited to studying government-reimbursed prescriptions. However, because most Canadians do not receive publicly-funded drug coverage, we have had large gaps in our understanding of opioid prescribing and its consequences.
The introduction of Ontario’s Narcotic Monitoring System (NMS) in 2012, which captures all opioid prescriptions in Ontario regardless of payer, offers a novel opportunity to explore opioid prescribing of the full Ontario population. Linkage of this dataset to a broad repository of health care data (e.g. hospital records and physician visits) enables us to:
- Describe provincial patterns of opioid prescribing
- Evaluate the real-world impact of existing programs
- Quantify indicators of inappropriate prescribing and misuse
- Identify populations at highest risk of overdose and death
- Inform policies likely to impact this crisis
The Ontario Prescription Opioid Tool allows public access to data related to indicators for opioid prescribing in the province from 2012 onwards. It uses data from the Narcotics Monitoring System (NMS), which captures all opioid prescriptions dispensed in retail pharmacies across Ontario.
This tool was made to complement Public Health Ontario’s interactive tool on opioid-related harms and will be updated on an approximately quarterly basis.
If you are interested in this work and would like to receive updates, please fill out this form.