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Opioid Medications

Prescription opioid misuse has become a major public health problem. The resources below provide information on the use of opioids for the treatment of pain as well as ways to prevent, assess, and manage those who have become addicted.  

Opioid Advice

Clinical Practice Tips Videos 

Effective Tapering Strategies for Prescription Opioids
In this series of four videos for family physicians and other health care practitioners, Dr Peter Selby, Chief of the Addictions Division at CAMH presents guidance on tapering opioids from the Canadian Guidelines for Safe and Effective Use of Opioids for Chronic Non-Cancer Pain.  

  1. Key Messages (2:53) 
  2. Main Reasons to Discontinue Opioids (4:59) 
  3. Clinical Considerations (6:11) 
  4. Opioid Tapering Protocol (13:06) 


Treatment Guidelines 

  • Buprenorphine/Naloxone for Opioid Dependence: Clinical Practice Guideline PDF
    The Guideline provides clinical recommendations for the initiation, maintenance and discontinuation of buprenorphine/ naloxone maintenance treatment in patients with opioid dependence in Ontario. The guideline will help educate practitioners in opioid prescribing, improve access to treatment for opioid dependence and lead to the safer prescribing and dispensing of buprenorphine/ naloxone.
  • Canadian Guideline for Safe and Effective Use of Opioids for Chronic Non-Cancer Pain 
    This guideline was developed to help physicians determine who to put on prescription opioids for chronic non-cancer pain; how to titrate the dose; how to monitor long-term opioid therapy; and how to appropriately cease or change opioids. There are 24 recommendations based on graded scientific evidence.
    The guideline also includes several clinical tools, including the Opioid Manager tool (registration required).
  • Addiction Toolkit: Opioid Misuse and Addiction 
    This section of the toolkit provides a comprehensive overview of what primary care providers need to know about opioid misuse and addiction. This includes:
    • which patients are most at risk of addiction
    • how to adequately monitor these and other patients receiving opioids for chronic non-cancer pain
    • how to treat pain in people who are known to be addicted to opioids.

Consulation and Treatment Services

  • Addiction Clinical Consultation Service (CAMH)
    For professional consultation to help your client or patient with opioid and methadone problems, call: 1-888-720- 2227
  • ConnexOntario
    ConnexOntario is funded by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and provides information and referral to alcohol and drug (Drug and Alcohol Helpline), gambling and mental health treatment services in Ontario.

Online Training

  • Opioid Dependence Treatment Certificate Program (CAMH)
    This certificate program is held under the auspices of the Office of Continuing Education and Professional Development, The Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
    The Opioid Dependence Treatment Certificate Program has been developed to prepare physicians, pharmacists, nurses and counsellors to provide a comprehensive range of services for people with opioid dependence. The certificate program consists of  the Opioid Dependence Treatment Core Course (ODT) and six elective courses.



Information for the Public

  • New Video Gives the Best Advice for People Considering or Taking Opioid Medications
    The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Dr. Mike Evans, Mercury Films and Canada Health Infoway are very proud to launch a new video that tackles the question, what is the best advice for people on, or about to start, opioid medications? Watch the video online.
  • Prescription for Addiction  
    A documentary that examines the growing problem of dependence and addiction to opioid pain medications. This 39-minute video includes insights from doctors and health professionals. The kit available from CAMH comes with a DVD and a comprehensive User Guide offering support for facilitators, teachers and others wishing to screen the film in their communities. Watch the video online.
  • Methadone Maintenance Treatment: Client Handbook (CAMH)  
    This book should answers many of the questions clents have about methadone treatment, and can help them to know what questions they should ask their doctor, pharmacist, counsellor and others. There's information here for those thinking about methadone treatment, for the new client and the long-term client, and for families and friends.



The Opioid Advice series was produced in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

Related links

Primary Care Addiction Toolkit - Opioid misuse and addiction