The overall number of prescriptions for opioids has increased over the last five years, but doctors have been giving patients fewer doses at one time, a report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information has found.

The overall number of prescriptions for opioids has increased over the last five years, but doctors have been giving patients fewer doses at one time, a report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information has found.
Photo Credit: Graeme Roy/Canadian Press

Canada: study looks at opioid use in light of health crisis

Share

Canada is experiencing an opioid crisis. There have been many deaths due to overdoses, usually from street drugs, but also prescription drugs. A new study released this week says there’s been a 54 per cent increase in opioid poisonings/overdoses  in the past ten years.

The study looks at the prescribing of opioids in Canada.

Michael Gaucher, Director, Pharmaceuticals and Health Workforce Information Services at Canadian Institute Health Information.

Listen
Michael Gaucher of the Canadian Institute for Health Information.
Michael Gaucher of the Canadian Institute for Health Information. © CIHI

On the CIHI website, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer is quoted saying. “Tragically, in 2016, there were more than 2,800 apparent opioid-related deaths in Canada”.

In an interesting trend the study found the number of opioid prescriptions increased in the past few years, but the overall quantity of opioids declined.

The report by the CIHI is called Pan-Canadian Trends in the Prescribing of Opioids, 2012 to 2016 (HERE)

Also the number of people being prescribed the drugs declined even as the prescriptions increased.

In 2016 some 21.5 million prescriptions for the often addictive painkillers were filled, almost one million more than in 2012.

Gaucher says that the fact prescriptions are up, but doses are down is a good thing. It means that doctors are abel to better monitor patients pain management needs.  The report noted however that higher potency levels opioids were being prescribed and while the report does not deal with addictions, Gaucher says there is a greater risk with the stronger opioids and addictions related to prescriptions might be the subject of further study.

A discarded needle sits on the sidewalk of a Vancouver street. More than 2,800 people died in Canada in 2016 due to opiod related overdoses
A discarded needle sits on the sidewalk of a Vancouver street. More than 2,800 people died in Canada in 2016 due to opiod related overdoses © Rafferty Baker/CBC

He also notes that internationally, although it’s difficult to determine how serious the issue is in other countries, the International Narcotics Control Bureau has reported that the U.S and Canada are at the top of the world’s narcotics consumption level, but he added that Europe’s opioid overdose deaths are rising and over 80 per cent were opioid related.

The federal government came out with new guidelines regarding prescribing opioids prior to the CIHI study and Gaucher says it may take awhile before the effects of those guidelines may be felt on the opioid crisis.

Additional information

Share
Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Health, International, Internet, Science and Technology, Society

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*

2 comments on “Canada: study looks at opioid use in light of health crisis
  1. David Gerrior says:

    Forgot one more statement: “The overall number of prescriptions for opioids has increased over the last five years, but doctors have been giving patients fewer doses at one time,”

  2. David Gerrior says:

    What a terribly confusing article. I’ve read many of Marc’s articles over the years and never found them confusing. I suspect this is because the issue and the reports provided by the “experts” are themselves confusing.
    Making sense of the various comment is difficult – the number of opioid prescriptions increased in the past few years, but the overall quantity of opioids declined.- the number of people being prescribed the drugs declined even as the prescriptions increased – prescriptions are up, but doses are down – higher potency levels opioids were being prescribed.” The conflicting statements makes reading this article very difficult.