Opioid-related harms in Canada Published: (September 2020)

Opioid deaths icon

16,364 apparent opioid-related deaths occurred between January 2016 and March 2020.

In 2020, between January and March, 1,018 deaths occurred, of which 96% were accidental (unintentional).

  • Western Canada continues to be the most impacted region of the country, but rates have increased in other regions, including Ontario.
  • A significant increase in rates of apparent opioid-related deaths at the national level was observed between January 2016 and June 2017; the rates remained high from July 2017 to March 2020.

In 2020, between January and March, 1,018 deaths occurred, of which 96% were accidental (unintentional). Although regional variations exist, at the national level, among accidental apparent opioid-related deaths:

Opioid hospitalization icon

Between January 2016 and March 2020, 20,523 opioid-related poisoning hospitalizations occurred in Canada (excluding Quebec).

In 2020, between January and March, there were 1,067 hospitalizations due to opioid-related poisoning, of which 64% were accidental (unintentional).

In 2020, between January and March, there were 1,067 hospitalizations due to opioid-related poisoning, of which 64% were accidental (unintentional). Although regional variations exist, at the national level, among accidental opioid-related poisoning hospitalizations:

Opioid EMS icon

More than 4,560 suspected opioid-related overdoses occurred between January and March 2020 based on available Emergency Medical Services data from nine provinces and territories.

Based on available 2020 (Jan to Mar) data:




Acknowledgements

This update would not be possible without the collaboration and dedication of provincial and territorial (PT) offices of Chief Coroners and Chief Medical Examiners as well as PT public health and health partners and Emergency Medical Services data providers. We would also like to acknowledge the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) for collecting and providing the data used for reporting opioid-related poisoning hospitalizations.

Suggested Citation

Special Advisory Committee on the Epidemic of Opioid Overdoses. Opioid-related Harms in Canada. Ottawa: Public Health Agency of Canada; September 2020. https://health-infobase.canada.ca/substance-related-harms/opioids


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