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

Ladysmith centenarian honoured with birthday parade

Kay Rozzano said she’s been looking forward to this birthday ‘for 100 years’

Council votes to move forward with detailed site investigation of waterfront area lands

The “uplands area” of the Ladysmith waterfront has historical contaminants that must be remediated

Senior who was excessively speeding in Ladysmith says RCMP shouldn’t have impounded her vehicle

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

Chemainus animal sanctuary needs your vote in nationwide contest

RASTA is up for $5,000 from Nutram; contest runs until May 31

Heartfelt memories of Derek Descoteau four years later

Victim of Chemainus murder and his brother leave a huge impact on a large group of friends

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

As SD84 schools look to reopen, Kyuquot and Zeballos opt out

Schools in Tahsis and Gold River will open on June 1, with 30 per cent students expected to come in

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

Most Read