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 of Canadians report ‘problematic use’ of opioids

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

Saanich police issued a 90-day driving ban and a 30-day vehicle impound after an impaired driver was caught at the scene of a collision involving a parked car early on Oct. 27. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Driver fails roadside screening after early morning crash in Saanich

Both cars significantly damaged after driver hits parked car around 5 a.m.

Struggling to afford rent, Sylvia Bailey is hoping to trade her love of cooking for some more affordable accommodation. (Photo courtesy of Sylvia Bailey)
Retired Victoria woman looking to cook, clean or garden in exchange for rent

Sylvia Bailey is hoping to use her love for cooking to help afford rent

Victoria police are searching for a suspect after a stabbing Monday night. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police searching for suspect in late-night stabbing

Victim taken to hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries

Leila Bui with her parents Tuan Bui (left) and Kairry Nguyen at the end of the trial that found Tanessa Nikirk guilty of dangerous driving causing bodily harm. Nikirk is back in court for her sentencing hearing. (Black Press file photo)
UPDATED: Court hears letter from driver convicted of hitting Saanich girl

Leila Bui has been in a non-responsive state since she was hit in 2017

The drive-through COVID-19 testing facility at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital. (Black Press Media file photo)
Island Health opens COVID-19 testing site at UVic

As with all other sites, an appointment is needed to receive a test

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

The voting station mimicked a real voting station in Nicole Choi’s classroom at Chilliwack middle school on Oct. 22, 2020, where students had to show their ID (student cards), be checked off a list, and mark a secret ballot behind a screen. (Jessica Peters/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. students choose NDP majority in mock election

More than 90,000 youth took part in school-based election process

Crew transport bus at the Trans Mountain pipeline project work site in Burnaby, March 2020. (Trans Mountain)
Check your workplace COVID-19 safety plans, Dr. Henry urges

Masks in public spaces, distance in lunchrooms for winter

B.C.’s Court of Appeal is in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Judgment reserved in Surrey Six slayings appeals

Six men were killed in suite 1505 of the Balmoral Tower in Whalley on Oct. 19, 2007

Kelowna City Hall has been vandalized overnight. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna City Hall hit by anti-pandemic vandalism

Graffiti condemning the virus appears overnight on City Hall

FILE – A woman smokes a marijuana joint at a “Wake and Bake” legalized marijuana event in Toronto on October 17, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov
Home nurse visits could play big role in reducing cannabis use, smoking in young mothers

The program, dubbed the BC Healthy Connections Project, involves public health nursing home visits

Candice Woloshyn prepares her flower beds for the next season at her ‘Dirty Girl Flowers’ farm in Merville. Despite the pandemic, Woloshyn was able to sustain her homegrown business as community members opted for regular deliveries of fresh cut flowers. Photo by Binny Paul/ Campbell River Mirror.
Vancouver Island flower farmers were blooming as the pandemic wilted everything else

Floriculturists saw increased subscriptions as fresh flowers became a ‘sight for sore eyes’ during isolation

The ‘new normal’ for hockey parents in Chilliwack and elsewhere in B.C., watching their kids from outside of the arena due to COVID-19 protocols. (Submitted photo)
Chilliwack hockey parents petition to be let back in the arena

Refused access due to pandemic protocols, parents are now applying pressure to loosen the rules

Most Read