The Burden of Premature Opioid-Related Mortality

The ODPRN conducted a serial cross-sectional study of all opioid-related deaths in Ontario, Canada between January 1, 1991 and December 31, 2010 to examine the rate and to estimate the years of potential life lost (YLL) due to opioid-related mortality.  In the map illustrated below, we report the annualized rates of opioid-related deaths by county in Ontario using the most recent 5 years of data (2006-2010).
Key findings demonstrate:

  • The overall rate of opioid-related mortality increased by 242% between 1991 and 2010
  • The annual YLL due to premature opioid related death increased 3-fold
  • The proportion of deaths attributable to opioids increased significantly over time among all ages
  • By 2010, nearly 1 of every 8 deaths among individuals aged 25 to 34 years was opioid-related
  • The majority of opioid-related deaths occurred in men, involved a single opioid, and were deemed as accidental.
  • The opioids most commonly involved in opioid-related deaths were morphine and or heroin (or the two combined), followed by oxycodone, methadone and codeine.
  • Oxycodone was the opioid most commonly involved in overdose deaths involving a single opioid
  • For overdose deaths where multiple opioids were involved, the most commonly involved opioids were codeine, morphine or heroin (or both)

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