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Opioid Stewardship

Opioid medications are used to treat pain. Opioids are also known as narcotics. In recent years more and more Canadians are using opioids, and research indicates that we are now the world's second largest consumer of opioids. Along with this increased use of opioids there has also been a corresponding and alarming increase in the harm from opioids.

ISMP Canada is the leading medication safety organization in Canada. Through our ongoing analysis of medication safety incidents, we have found that opioids are frequently associated with harmful consequences-including death-when they are prescribed, used or administered incorrectly or in error.

In response, we have created an Opioid Stewardship Program to help people to become better informed about opioids and to help reduce and prevent harm. This web page has been developed to provide members of the public and health care practitioners with useful and accurate information regarding opioids.

Information for Patients and Families:

ISMP Canada Safety Bulletins and Other Resources for Healthcare Providers:

General information:
Information for Hospitals:
Information for Long-term Care Homes:
Information for community-based care providers:

Information related to specific medications (in alphabetical order):

Fentanyl (transdermal):

Additional collaborative projects and resources related to safe management of opioids: