The Memorial Tapestry, a project mounted by Comox resident Judith Conway after her son Matthew died of an fentanyl overdose in 2017, hangs in a hallway at Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria, where it will stay until July 8. (Don Descoteau/Black Press Media)

About 10 per cent opioid users report ‘problematic use’: survey

Figures appear in the 2018 Canadian Community Healthy Survey

About 10 per cent of Canadian opioid users have reported “problematic use.”

This figure appears in the 2018 Canadian Community Healthy Survey, which defines “problematic use” as “taking the medication in greater amounts than prescribed or more often than directed, using it to get high, use for reasons other than pain relief, and tampering with a product before taking it.”

RELATED: Victoria church displays memorial tapestry for those lost to opioid crisis

According to Statistics Canada, about 3.7 million Canadians aged 15 and older (13 per cent of overall population) used an opioid pain medication in 2018 with about 351,000 reporting “problematic use.” Most who have reported “problematic use” say they use opioids in greater amounts than directed, with males more likely to report problematic use than females.

RELATED: ‘Opioid epidemic:’ Pharmacists call for stricter access to low-dose codeine

This figure comes with a caveat: it relies on self-reporting, failing to capture individuals whose opioid use matches the definition of “problematic use” who don’t report it to public health officials.

One million of all opioid users in 2018 say they used the medication as needed, for example, following a surgery. Forty per cent of the other users report using them only once or twice, while close to 600,000 people (21 per cent) reported daily or almost daily usage.

Opioid use has long been major public health issue in Canada. During the first nine months of 2018, 3,286 Canadians lost their lives to apparent opioid-related overdoses. More than 10,300 Canadians died as a result of an apparent opioid-related overdose between January 2016 and September 2018. In British Columbia, 1,514 people died of illicit drug overdoses in 2018. Dating back to 2009, 6,204 people died of illicit drug overdoses. Figures for the first quarter of 2019 show 268 deaths.

To put this figures into perspectives, they have contributed to a previously unthought phenomena: a stagnation in life-expectancy at birth. According to Statistics Canada, life expectancy at birth did not increase from 2016 to 2017, remaining unchanged year over year for the first time in over four decades.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Shawnigan Hills parkrun report for Nov. 30

Seven personal bests set in chilly conditions

VIDEO: Celebrate magic of the holidays as Winter Harp returns to Cowichan Sunday

Wonderful Winter Harp is back at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre on… Continue reading

VIMC will not proceed with controversial construction plans; going to legal action

North Cowichan says Monday’s public hearing will go ahead anyway

Duncan Christmas Kick-Off a hit

The City of Duncan lit up for the season with their annual… Continue reading

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

B.C. Transit finds 28 used fareboxes online, saves $300,000

‘Someone joked maybe we can buy used fareboxes on eBay,’ CEO says

Many of Canada’s working poor can’t afford lawyers, don’t qualify for legal aid

One lawyer says many people earn too much to qualify for legal aid, but not enough to really live on

Economy lost 71,200 jobs in November, unemployment rate climbs to 5.9%

Jobless rate is at its highest since August 2018, when it hit 6%

BC Hydro reservoirs see record low rain across Vancouver Island

Hydro electric watersheds are at a third of their normal levels

Most Read