Presented by: Ahmed Jakda, Tara Gomes, Tara Walton, Darren Cargill
The appropriate use of opioids has become a national health issue in Canada. To address growing concerns around inappropriate prescribing and public misuse of opioids, in the summer of 2016 policy makers in Ontario announced the delisting of high strength opioids from public funding through the Ontario Drug benefit formulary. This provided an opportunity for a unique collaboration of palliative care experts from the Ontario Palliative Care Network, the Section of Palliative Medicine at the Ontario Medical Association to work closely with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to ensure that the needs of patients requiring high strength opioids for pain and symptom management in the palliative care setting would be maintained. Furthermore, researchers have been engaged to provide evidence to inform the potential impact of the proposed policy changes. This oral presentation will provide recent statistics in Ontario around opioid prescribing in palliative care, review chronic pain guidelines, as well as instances of overdose. We will also discuss solutions that have been developed to maintain access of opioids for those requiring them for legitimate uses, by way of redeveloping the prescriber-based Palliative Care Facilitated Access designation. Results of the solutions will also be shared. This work accomplished demonstrates a strong partnership between relevant stakeholders, and proves the value of working together to address a major health concern.