Tackling the Opioid Public Health Crisis
Opioid Public Health Crisis
September 8, 2010
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario released a set of wideranging recommendations to target the opioid public health crisis. The College is responsible for regulating Ontario’s physicians in the public interest. The report, Avoiding Abuse, Achieving a Balance, responds to growing problems with opioids including an increasing number of fatalities, alarming rates of addiction, and devastating consequences in communities. These problems are compounded by a lack of adequate treatment and support for patients with pain for whom opioids are a useful part of the arsenal of treatment options.
The report’s 31 recommendations flow from the work of four working groups comprised of health professionals, health regulators, community organizations, law enforcement, government and
“Ontario needs system‐wide solutions to address serious problems with opioid prescribing,” said College Registrar Dr. Rocco Gerace.
The recommendations include:
- Creating a coordinated, accessible system for the treatment of pain and addiction;
- Taking immediate steps forward to make greater use of technology to improve outcomes for patients and reduce diversion;
- Enhancing the training and ongoing education of health‐care providers and improving education and awareness of the public;
- Empowering health‐care professionals, institutions and law enforcement agencies to reduce diversion by facilitating information‐sharing and establishing a duty to report criminal activity.
“The goal of these recommendations is to improve patient care and health outcomes by ensuring effective treatment for patients with chronic non‐cancer pain, while also supporting solutions to help stem the diversion of opioids,” said Dr. Gerace.
These recommendations complement the recent announcement of a Narcotic Strategy by the Minister of Health and Long‐Term Care. Research commissioned by the College explored the public’s knowledge, use and level of concern about the use of opioid medications in Ontario. It found that opioids are used widely, that Ontarians considers misuse a serious problem and that 82% support a Drug Information System.
Kathryn Clarke, 416-967‐2600, ext. 378
Jill Hefley, 416-967‐2600, ext. 445