Patient and Stakeholder Engagement

The Ontario Opioid Drug Observatory has taken a proactive, patient-centered approach since its launch in late 2017. The following engagement strategies will allow us to integrate patient perspectives throughout this research:

Steering Committee Members

The following perspectives have been incorporated into the Drug Observatory steering committee and associated research moving forward:

  • Individuals with experience using opioids are represented by five people with lived experience
  • The general public research lens is represented by two members of the ODPRN Citizens’ Panel
  • Family members impacted by opioid use are represented by moms united and mandated to saving the lives of Drug Users (mumsDU)

All members attended a launch meeting in October 2017 and will continue to be involved in future meetings as well as particular projects of interest.

New Projects

Take-home Naloxone: A Qualitative Study of Accessibility

The Observatory launched a study in October 2018 on the experiences of naloxone access (including perceived barriers and facilitators) across Ontario among individuals with past or current opioid experience. We want to gain a wide range of perspectives from individuals who have used opioids (both for pain management and recreational use) to understand how they may be affected by current naloxone policies and programs. Further details can be found on the study information sheet.

If you or someone you know are interested in participating in this study, please call us at 1-888-316-3776. Participants will be compensated for their time during this one hour telephone interview.

The Opioid Chapters: A Joint ODPRN and Healthy Debate Project

The Opioid Chapters features 11 stories of people whose lives have been profoundly affected by opioids. A joint project of the ODPRN and the website Healthy Debate, this multimedia online series features powerful first-person narratives from people who take opioids for chronic pain, those with an opioid use disorder, and providers who work with both.

Released September 6, 2018.

Focus Groups

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Prior to conducting any research within the Drug Observatory, the ODPRN convened focus groups comprised of individuals with experience using opioids in order to gather their perspectives on the current trends in opioid prescribing, utilization and changing access in Ontario. The information gathered was used to understand the priorities of people with lived experience and the potential opportunities for research aligned within these priorities.

We convened 8 focus groups, totaling 49 participants, in Toronto, Kingston, Ottawa, and via teleconference for those residing outside of city centers. We spoke with individuals who use opioids to treat chronic pain as well as those with opioid use disorder. The findings have been summarized into a manuscript and is currently awaiting publication.

We plan to conduct additional focus groups as needed over the next several years to assess how perspectives and experiences of opioid prescribing and access are changing.

Get Involved

The Drug Observatory may have additional opportunities for individuals with opioid use experience to become involved. If you are interested in sharing your perspectives, please contact ODPRN Knowledge Broker, Dana Shearer at

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