Almost one in every five Canadians is suffering from chronic pain. Many try to manage with medication including opioids. However, statistics show that:
- In 2016, 914 people died in B.C. due to overdoses from illicit opioids, with another 50 to 80 deaths from prescription painkillers.
- In 2016, 343 people died in Alberta from an apparent drug overdose related to fentanyl.
- In 2014, 663 people died of opioid overdoes in Ontario, making it the third-leading cause of accidental death in the province.
It is clear that Canada, the world’s second largest consumer of prescription opioids, is facing a national opioid crisis. In response to this crisis, the government and medical institutions have been working to develop and implement strategies and guidelines for prescribing opioids. For example, the Government of Ontario implemented its first comprehensive Opioid strategy in October 2016 to prevent opioid addiction and overdose by enhancing data collection, modernizing prescribing and dispensing practices, and connecting patients with high quality addiction treatment services and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. introduced the first mandatory standards in Canada for prescribing opioids in June 2016.
To support these guidelines, physicians and healthcare professionals need to understand how best to serve these patients. In response to the high demand from healthcare professionals for better education on prescribing opioids Drs. Abhimanyu Sud and Kate Hodgson have created the Safe Opioid Prescribing series at CPD.
The program goal is to retrain physicians about pain management, and to ultimately change how healthcare professionals conduct their practice.
The program series consists of three live webinars followed by a full-day workshop. The webinars focus on assessing complex chronic pain, prescribing opioids in chronic pain, and addressing opioid challenges and addiction. Upon completion, participants will take part in role-play exercises in the one-day in-person Skill Development workshop.
The next Safe Opioid Prescribing webinar series will be held on June 21st, 2017. Physicians, family doctors, nurse practitioners, and addiction workers are encouraged to attend. For more information and to register visit http://www.cpd.utoronto.ca/opioidprescribing/.