CPSA - Opioid prescribing has turned a corner in Alberta

    The overuse of opioids (legal & illegal) is an ongoing crisis in Alberta, however it seems that it has turned a corner.

    January 16, 2018

    The CPSA released an editorial that appeared in the Edmonton Journal and Calgary Herald last week, that outlines the latest data on opioid prescribing, their partnership initiatives and key information for physicians, patients and other key stakeholders. You can also read the article with detailed graphs here on the CPSA's website.

    From the CPSA:
    For the past two years, the College has worked alongside Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services to put a better support system in place for Alberta's physicians who prescribe opioids, and Alberta patients who receive them. This includes a new standard of practice and advice document, as well as extensive resources including quarterly reports for Alberta physicians.

    Recent data shows our efforts, and yours, are working. Opioid prescribing has turned a corner in Alberta, and has started to decline. The editorial outlines the latest data on opioid prescribing, our partnership initiatives and key information for physicians, patients, government and other key stakeholders. We will post the same article on the CPSA website, along with detailed graphs.

    While these recent stats are positive, there is still work to be done. We will continue to monitor physician prescribing and support those who need out help, as well advocating for broader system and policy changes.

    In the interim, it's helpful to remember the following:

    • It is never appropriate to abandon a patient on long-term opioid therapy, or abruptly cut off or threaten to cut off their medication. Safely reducing long-term opioid medication requires expertise and support. Resources
    • The lowest effective dose is the safest dose. For the safest care, and to reduce the potential for unused medication to be diverted to non-medical use, physicians should prescribe the lowest effective dose and regularly re-assess the patient.
    • Patients taking opioids should not be stigmatized. Any person taking an opioid medication can develop dependence over time. This is a known risk of the medication, and is not the fault of the patient.

    If you need advice or support regarding opioid prescribing, visit the CPSA website or contact us at 780-969-4935 or CC.Inquiries@cpsa.ab.ca.