Windsor-Essex Has Some Of The Highest Opioid Prescription Rates In Ontario

Windsor-Essex has some of the highest opioid prescription rates in Ontario.

That's according to a new study looking at the rate of opioid's being prescribed and what they're being prescribed to treat.

Windsor-Essex had the third highest rate of residents receiving opioid's for pain in 2016, with 16.9% of the population receiving a prescription.  The highest rate was 17.4%.

The region also posted the the third highest rate of residents receiving opioid's for a cough, at 3.6%.  The highest rate was 4.6%.

But the study also found only 0.6% of the population was receiving either methadone or suboxone to treat addiction, just above the provincial average but well below the highest rate of 2.2%

Tara Gomes, lead author of the study says despite the large number of people receiving opioid's to treat pain there isn't a large number of people being treated for addiction.

"Either people are simply getting prescribed opioid's but that's not leading to an addiction, which is one potential explanation," says Gomes.  "But the other explanation is that people have become dependent or addicted to opioid's because of this high prescribing rate but can't access the addiction services they might need."

Gomes believes more work needs to be done to see if there are gaps in access to addiction treatment in the region, to make sure people aren't becoming addicted and unable to seek the help that they need.

The opioid related death rate in Windsor-Essex was 6.1% between July of 2013 and June of 2016.