Opioid-Related Research

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.

New Research

Patterns of medication and healthcare use among people who died of an opioid-related toxicity during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario

In Ontario, the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the ongoing opioid overdose crisis. There is an urgent need to better understand patterns of healthcare use among people who died of an opioid-related toxicity during the pandemic, particularly amid the pandemic-related disruptions to healthcare services and increasing rates of unintentional deaths due to opioid-related toxicity since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ODPRN, the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario/Ontario Forensic Pathology Service (OCC/OFPS) and Public Health Ontario (PHO) have developed a new report describing patterns of medication and healthcare use among people who died of an opioid-related toxicity in Ontario during the COVID-19 pandemic up to the end of December 2020. In addition, this report will focus on describing these same characteristics and patterns of healthcare use among people who were experiencing homelessness in order to inform supportive approaches that can be tailored specifically for this population.

This report follows a report that describes changing circumstances surrounding opioid-related deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as preliminary patterns during the first three months of the pandemic.

Access the full report and associated resources:


All Research on Safety and Use of Opioids

wdt_ID Title Publication Type Date Released Research Topic Additional Resources
wdt_ID Title Publication Type Date Released Research Topic Additional Resources
1 Long-term analgesic use after low-risk surgery Journal Article 12 Mar 2012 Descriptive and Utilization Letter to Editor
2 Geographical variation in opioid prescribing and opioid-related mortality in ontario Journal Article 01 Jan 2011 Descriptive and Utilization Research Minute
3 Trends in opioid use and dosing among socio-economically disadvantaged patients Journal Article 25 Jan 2011 Descriptive and Utilization
4 Clustering of opioid prescribing and opioid-related mortality among family physicians in Ontario Journal Article 01 Mar 2011 Descriptive and Utilization
5 Use of other opioids during methadone therapy: A population-based study Journal Article 18 Jan 2012 Descriptive and Utilization
6 Trends in high-dose opioid prescribing in Canada Journal Article 01 Sep 2014 Descriptive and Utilization Research Minute
7 Opioid use and related adverse events in Ontario Public Report 10 Nov 2016 Descriptive and Utilization County Report Cards
8 Opioid prescribing and opioid-related hospital visits in Ontario Public Report 01 Jul 2015 Descriptive and Utilization
9 The burden of premature opioid-related mortality Public Report 01 May 2014 Descriptive and Utilization Research Minute
10 Prescribing of opioids and opioid-related mortality in Ontario: 2004-2006 Public Report 01 Jul 2012 Descriptive and Utilization
Please note that this report is NOT COMPLETE and is still in progress. Click below if you would like to continue.