Opioid Prescribing Program Addresses National Crisis

According to a study by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, St. Michael’s Hospital, and the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network, one-third of opioid-related deaths in Ontario between 2013 and 2016 occurred among people who were being treated with prescription opioids. Over the course of the study, this number decreased slightly, but it still presents a major concern. After the United States, Canada experiences the 2nd highest per capita consumption of prescription opioid use. Clearly, it is critical for healthcare providers to be properly trained and educated in opioid prescribing; this is especially important when considering that 20% of Canadian adults suffer from chronic pain.

The Safer Opioid Prescribing series will provide physicians and health care providers with increased knowledge regarding the management of chronic pain and the proper prescription of opioids. The knowledge shared in this program is based on the most up-to-date information from the 2017 Canadian Guideline for Opioids for Chronic Non-Cancer Pain.

Safer Opioid Prescribing consists of three webinars and a subsequent in-person skills development workshop. Part one of the webinar is “Assessing Chronic Complex Pain”; this will review recognizing chronic pain, assessing patients, and approaches for chronic pain management. Part two is “Prescribing Opioids in Chronic Pain”; this will cover topics such as assessing patients’ risk of overdose and use disorder. Part three is “Addressing Opioid Challenges”; this section will address challenges such as opioid prescriptions for special populations. The “Challenging Cases in Opioid Use and Misuse” Workshop is the final component of the series; this is an in-person skills development workshop.

The Spring 2019 Webinar will take place on March 26, April 30, and May 29. The in-person workshop will be held in Calgary on April 9, as well as in Toronto on May 8 and June 5. For more information and to register, please visit https://www.cpd.utoronto.ca/opioidprescribing/.