In line with its ongoing commitment to encourage the use of data and evidence to support quality and safe pharmacy practice, the Ontario College of Pharmacists is pleased to announce the publication of the Opioid Dispensing in Ontario: 2018 Snapshot.
As expressed in its Opioid Strategy for Pharmacy, the Ontario College of Pharmacists believes that the profession of pharmacy can help with improving opioid-related care for patients, encouraging harm reduction, preventing overdose and addiction and helping to ensure quality oversight of the provision of narcotics and controlled substances. Having access to data and information related to opioid dispensing patterns in regions across Ontario is an important step in better understanding what’s happening and what can be done to help improve care for patients and reduce the risk of opioid-related harms.
The release of the Opioid Dispensing in Ontario: 2018 Snapshot is intended to provide an overall look at opioid dispensing patterns in community pharmacy in Ontario related to three areas of analysis that are considered high-risk dispensing practices.
The data analysis in the snapshot was provided by the Ministry of Health from the Narcotics Monitoring System (NMS). The Ministry is responsible for the management of the NMS and conducted the analysis before sharing the aggregate, de-identified data analysis with the College. The data analysis did not identify specific pharmacies, pharmacy professionals or patients.
Through the release of the snapshot, the College is seeking to better understand practice behaviours, with the primary goal of identifying areas for further teaching, coaching and collaborating with pharmacy professionals in preventing opioid-related harms. The snapshot also provides an opportunity for the public, patients, and health system stakeholders to understand the role of pharmacy in helping to reduce the human and societal impact associated with the opioid crisis in our communities.
Of equal importance is the use of the data analysis in providing pharmacy professionals with information to help them evaluate and enhance their own practice as medication experts. To assist with this, the snapshot outlines a number of key considerations for pharmacy professionals who are dispensing opioids.
The publication of this opioid-dispensing snapshot is the latest College initiative designed to publish relevant and meaningful data that can be used to influence continuous quality improvement efforts within pharmacy. It follows the publication of the first expert bulletin and data snapshot related to medication incidents and near misses reported by Ontario community pharmacies as part of their obligations under the College’s Assurance and Improvement in Medication Safety (AIMS) Program.