May 2017

Resources on opioids

Health Quality Ontario, the provincial advisor on the quality of health care, recently released a report that indicates that opioid prescribing rates remain high.

Currently 85 percent of the province’s NPs are authorized to prescribe controlled substances, which include opioids. To support their practice, the College has some evidence-based resources. These include The 2017 Canadian Guideline for Opioids for Chronic Non-Cancer Pain and the US Center for Disease Control Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain.

The recommendations in these guidelines align with expectations in the College’s Nurse Practitioner practice standard, such as:

  • providing pharmacological interventions, treatment or therapy by applying strategies to reduce risk of harm involving controlled substances

  • considering the available treatment options (pharmacological and non-pharmacological) based on available evidence and client circumstances before using a controlled substance in a treatment plan

Opioids are often prescribed to relieve pain. One area of high risk (for addiction or misuse, for example) is in the use of opioids to manage chronic non-cancer pain. To mitigate this risk, NPs should base their therapeutic management decisions, including prescribing medication, on the best available evidence.

If there are changes to these resources, we will update our controlled substances webpage.


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