A new study looking at national opioid mortality, hospitalization and emergency department visits in Canada has found a nearly six-fold increase in opioid-related deaths between 2000 and 2017.
The study by University of Waterloo researchers is the first publication to assess the growth of Canadian opioid-related deaths during this time period at a national level. Researchers used comprehensive national databases and discovered two distinct trends in opioid-related mortality. First, the number of Canadians dying because of opioid use steadily increased from 2000-2015. Second, after 2015, opioid-related mortality increased rapidly.
“In 2016, the Public Health Agency of Canada began collating data on opioid-related mortality,” said Wasem Alsabbagh, a pharmacy professor at Waterloo and lead author on the study. “We had some understanding of trends at the provincial level prior to 2016, but no comprehensive picture of trends across the country. Our research fills this gap in Canada’s opioid mortality reporting by examining trends nationally from 2000 to 2017.”