Alarming opioid study following 4500 deaths in Canada last year

CKTB - NEWS - Opioid needle

A new study has found patients in Canada and the United States filled opioid prescriptions after minor surgery at a rate that was seven times higher than those in Sweden.

Researchers examined prescriptions filled by individuals in the first week after undergoing one of four low-risk operations in the three countries.

Just 11 per cent of patients in Sweden filled an opioid prescription, compared with 79 per cent in Canada and 76 per cent in the U-S.

The study, published today in JAMA Network Open, also says the amount of opioid dispensed was significantly higher in the U-S compared with Canada and Sweden.

Doctor Karim Ladha, a clinician-scientist at Saint Michael's Hospital and a co-author of the study, says there's a lot of evidence that suggests patients in North America are getting more opioids than they need.

He also says the study raises the question of whether opioids are necessary for pain management after surgery, and the researchers are planning further study to get to the bottom of that question.