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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. premier talks forestry, service needs with handful of northern mayors in Prince George

Prince George meeting completes premier’s tour of Kitimat, Terrace, Fort St. James and Quesnel

Indigenous LNG supporters chide human rights advocates over pipeline comments

Coastal GasLink has signed agreements with 20 elected First Nation councils along the pipeline’s 670-kilometre path

Shallow quake rocked 4.0

Earthquake on Haida Gwaii

Telus to take charge of TV and internet on Haida Gwaii following acquisition of Gwaii Communications

Haida Gwaii telecommunications service provider begins transition to new ownership following sale

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

VIDEO: Nickelback gears up for nostalgia tour

Canadian band joins Stone Temple Pilots for a summer tour that includes just one stop in Canada

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into B.C. newsroom office

It was a chaotic start to the week for the Kitimat Northern Sentinel

Canadian law firm launches class action on behalf of Iran flight victims

Flight 752 was shot down by Iran shortly after take off

Mission Hill cellarman fired after mistakenly dumping $162K of wine down the drain

The former employee filed a grievance with the West Kelowna winery but was unsuccesful

Protesters block B.C. government building entrance to support Wet’suwet’en First Nation

A letter with four demands was delivered to the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources

Hospital patient pleads guilty to dumbbell assault of nurse in Abbotsford

Neale Heath admits to assault causing bodily harm in attack last September

Most Read