CAMH is committed to playing a leading role in transforming society’s understanding of mental illness and substance use and building a better health care system. To help achieve these goals, CAMH communicates evidence-informed policy advice to stakeholders and policymakers. This document is the seventh in a series of CAMH Policy Frameworks – documents that review the evidence, summarize the current environment, and propose evidence-informed principles to guide public policy.*
Canada is facing an epidemic of opioid addiction and overdose deaths. Governments recognize the urgency of this issue and have been working to address it, notably through First Do No Harm, a strategy to reduce prescription drug harms in Canada (2013), and Ontario’s Narcotics Strategy (2010) – both of which CAMH participates in and supports.
Despite these efforts, opioid-related harms have been increasing. More recently, the Ontario government has announced a Strategy to Prevent Opioid Addiction and Overdose that spans prevention, treatment, and harm reduction as well as pain treatment. The federal government is expected to release an opioid strategy soon. These are welcome developments. Our objective in releasing this document is to help inform the implementation of these provincial and federal initiatives and to propose some additional measures.
The document summarizes the situation in Ontario, outlines the risks inherent in opioid policy, and, based on recent evidence as well as policies being implemented elsewhere, offers some high-level recommendations for a combined public health and clinical response to Ontario’s opioid crisis.
Read the document here