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Opioids - Information for healthcare providers

Prescription medications, when used properly, can provide a vital tool in effective pain management and treatment of other medical conditions. Unfortunately, these same medications can cause overwhelming addiction, overdose and death.

The non-medical use or abuse of prescription drugs is a serious and growing public health concern. In 2016, the Ontario government announced that the province will be “implementing its first comprehensive Opioid strategy to prevent opioid addiction and overdose by enhancing data collection, modernizing prescribing and dispensing practices, and connecting patients with high quality addiction treatment services”.

Healthcare providers play a key role in the proper prescribing, management, and problem identification when it comes to prescription medications.


Patient Handouts

  • Path of the Pill
    A useful patient video linked with permission from the Partnership for a Drug Free Canada.
  • Teens and Substance Misuse
    Video series highlights information about talking to teens about alcohol and other drugs, factors that put teens at risk for alcohol and other drug use. signs of alcohol and other drug use in teens, risks for teens of using alcohol and other drugs, what to do if you suspect a teen is using alcohol or other drugs and setting boundaries and consequences for teens regarding alcohol and other drugs.
  • Parent Action Pack: Stats, Facts and Talking Points About Alcohol and Other Drugs
    A useful resource for parents and caregivers of adolescents in the 14 -18 year age range.

Key Documents/Best Practice Guidelines/References

2017 Canadian Guideline for Opioids for Chronic Non-Cancer Pain

  1. This guideline includes:Scope of the Guideline and How to Use the Guideline
  2. Background and Methods
  3. Initiation and Dosing
  4. Rotation and Tapering
  5. Best Practice Statements
  6. Expert Guidance
  7. Risk mitigation

With guidance from the Expert Working Group on Narcotic Addiction, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has developed in collaboration with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) a series of Opioid Advice for health care providers:


Point of Care Tool

Primary Care Addiction Toolkit
This practical reference has been created for healthcare providers who work in a primary care setting and who have patients with substance use problems. The toolkit addresses common clinical issues and provides useful clinical tools and resources for patients.

The Primary Care Addiction Toolkit includes four modules:


Programs and Services

Date of creation: June 15, 2017
Last modified on: August 31, 2017