Seven times more opioid prescriptions filled in Canada than Sweden: study

Opioids

A new study finds patients in Canada are getting more opioids than they need even for minor surgical procedures.

The study was co-authored by Dr. Karim Ladha from the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto.

It found patients in Canada and the United States filled opioid prescriptions after minor surgery at seven times the rate of patients in Sweden.

Researchers examined prescriptions filled in the first week after patients had one of four low-risk operations.

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

The study notes that excessive post-operative opioid prescribing has been associated with increased risks of drug diversion, new long-term opioid use and the development of opioid use disorder.

Nearly 45-hundred people died of opioid-related causes in Canada last year.