Skip to main content

System Performance

Starting on Opioids in Ontario

man running outdoors through a forest in the winter

The prescribing of opioids to manage pain is a common practice in Ontario. However, long-term use can lead to significant harm and even death. As a result, recent guidelines and forthcoming quality standards on opioids have highlighted new starts as one area of focus to improve prescribing practices.

In Starting on Opioids, the data reveals some positives as well as areas of improvement as it relates to “new starts” of opioids – defined in the report as prescriptions for people who have not filled an opioid prescription in at least six months:

  • New starts accounted for about 15% of all opioid prescriptions in 2016, or about 1.3 million out of almost 8.3 million, a slight decrease of about 25,000, or 2%, new starts from 2013

  • More than 40,000 Ontarians were started on high doses of prescription opioids (over 90 mg of morphine per day, or the equivalent dose of a different opioid) in 2016 and nearly 325,000 were started with a prescription for more than 7 days

  • Together, family doctors, surgeons, and dentists represented 86% of all new-start prescriptions in 2016


  • View online report     Download the report



MyPractice: Primary Care

Are you a family doctor practicing in Ontario? Sign up to receive your confidential report to learn about your opioid prescribing patterns compared with others in your region and across the province.

Learn more
Doctors discussing data in their reports

PARTNERED SUPPORTS FOR HELPING PATIENTS MANAGE PAIN

Helping patients manage pain is complex. To help navigate this challenging landscape and support providers across the health system, tools and resources are being offered through a connected effort of health groups across Ontario.

LEARN MORE
doctor examining her patient's shoulder

META:PHI

Learn more about META:PHI, a first-of-its-kind research project helping people struggling with opioid and alcohol addiction.

LEARN MORE
physician and patient discussing treatment options

Let’s make our health system healthier

Join Our Patient, Family and Public Advisors Program

Patients, families and the public are central to improving health quality.


Claude Lurette and Kowsiya Vijayartnam, Health Quality Ontario Patient, Family and Caregiver Advisors Council Co-Chairs

Sign up for our newsletter

Are you passionate about quality health care for all Ontarians? Stay in-the-know about our newest programs, reports and news.

Health Quality Connect - Health Quality Ontario's newsletter - on an iPad and a cell phone