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The problem of prescription opioid misuse:

Canada is now the second-largest per capita consumer of prescription opioids (exceeded only by the United States), according to the International Narcotics Control Board (2013). Globally, North America consumes approximately 80% of the world's opioids.

Preventing problematic misuse of pharmaceuticals was identified as a priority in the National Framework for Action to Reduce the Harms Associated with Alcohol and Other Drugs and Substances in Canada and reinforced during a national dialogue convened by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) in 2012.

A 2014 study that assessed the burden of premature opioid-related mortality in Ontario found that rates of opioid-related deaths are increasing rapidly and are concentrated among the young. Opioid-related mortality rates increased by 242% between 1991 and 2010 (P < 0.0001), and the annual years of life lost due to premature opioid-related death increased threefold during that time. By 2010, nearly one of every eight deaths (12.1%) among 25–34 year olds was opioid-related.

As of 2011, opioid related deaths have surpassed motor vehicle collision deaths in Ontario. (Ontario Coroner, 2013)

In Simcoe Muskoka, from 2000 to 2009 there were 109 deaths caused by opioid use. For the same time period, there were 2,374 opioid-related deaths across Ontario. (2000-2009, intelliHEALTH, MOHLTC) There is a 29% greater opioid-related death experience in Simcoe Muskoka relative to Ontario. (2000-2009)

Clinical resources:

Canadian Guideline for Safe & Effective Use of Opioids for Chronic Non-Cancer Pain

A national, evidence-based guideline to help primary-care physicians and specialists safely and effectively use opioids to treat patients with chronic non-cancer pain.

Ontario’s Narcotics Strategy

Guides, tools, and professional development for health care professionals (including physicians, dentists, pharmacists and nurses) to appropriately prescribe and dispense prescription opioids as well as methadone and buprenorphine treatment to patients.