Map of Simcoe Muskoka

Alcohol & Drugs

Opioid Prescribing

Key Messages
Overall Trends
By Age Group & Sex
By Type of Drug
By Geography
Technical Notes

Key Messages

  • In 2019, 12% of Simcoe Muskoka residents were prescribed an opioid for pain.
  • This is significantly higher than the comparable provincial rate of 10% for all Ontario residents.
  • The percentage of the population prescribed an opioid for pain has decreased significantly, both local and for province as whole, from 2016 to 2019.
  • Being prescribed an opioid for pain increases significantly with age. More than one-in-five seniors (65+) in Simcoe Muskoka were prescribed an opioid for pain in 2019.
  • Significantly more females were prescribed an opioid for pain in Simcoe Muskoka when compared with males. This difference in opioid prescribing between females and males is largest for those between the ages of 15 and 44 years.
  • Codeine is the mostly commonly prescribed opioid for pain; however, the percentage of individuals prescribed codeine declined significantly from 2013 to 2019.
  • Hydromorphone is the only opioid that has been increasingly prescribed since 2013.
  • The percentage of the population that were prescribed an opioid for pain varies within the health unit region. Residents of Northwest Simcoe County had the highest percentage of the population prescribed an opioid for pain, and those in South Simcoe has the lowest.

Trends over Time

  • The percentage of both Simcoe Muskoka and Ontario residents prescribed an opioid for pain decreased significantly from 2016 to 2019.
  • The percentage of Simcoe Muskoka residents prescribed an opioid for pain decreased from 15% in 2016 to 12% in the 2019.
  • The percentage of Ontario residents prescribed an opioid for pain decreased from 12% in 2016 to 10% in the 2019.
  • The percentage of the population prescribed an opioid for pain has been significantly higher in Simcoe Muskoka when compared to the province overall since the Narcotics Monitoring System (NMS) was first introduced in April of 2012.

OpioidPrescribedTREND

By Age and Sex

  • Being prescribed an opioid for pain increases with age. In 2019, 21% of seniors 65 years and older in Simcoe Muskoka were prescribed an opioid for pain, compared with 16% of adults 45 to 64 years and 10% of adults 25 to 44 years.
  • The percentage of Simcoe Muskoka residents prescribed an opioid for pain in 2019 was significantly higher than the provincial average for all age group; however, this difference was largest among the population under 45 years of age.
  • Significantly more females are prescribed an opioid for pain when compared with males. In 2019, 13% of females in Simcoe Muskoka were prescribed an opioid for pain compared with 11% of males.
  • The difference in opioid prescribing between males and females was largest among those between the ages of 15 and 44 years. This pattern in opioid prescribing for males and females is consistent with the province overall.

OpioidPrescribedbyAge

OpioidPrescribedbyAgeandSex

By Type of Drug

  • Codeine (combination) is the most commonly prescribed opioid for pain in Simcoe Muskoka; however, the percentage of individuals prescribed codeine decreased significantly from 2013 to 2019.
  • The percentage of the Simcoe Muskoka population prescribed oxycodone (combination) had remained steady from 2013 to 2016 at 4.5%; however, this dropped to 3% by 2019.
  • The only opioid that has been increasingly prescribed since 2013 is hydromorphone. In 2013 just over 1% of the Simcoe Muskoka population was prescribed hydromorphone; however, by 2019 3% of Simcoe Muskoka residents were prescribed hydromorphone.

OpioidPrescribedbyDrugTrend

By Geography

  • In the 2017/2018 fiscal year, the proportion of the population prescribed an opioid for pain varied across Simcoe Muskoka. The 2017/2018 fiscal year covers the period from April 1st, 2017 through to and including March 31st, 2018.
  • The highest percentage (17%) of people that were prescribed an opioid for pain lived in Northwest Simcoe County. This was significantly higher than any other area in Simcoe Muskoka.
  • The lowest percentage (12%) of people that were prescribed an opioid for pain lived in South Simcoe; however, this was still significantly higher than the comparable provincial average of 11%.

OpioidPrescribedbyGeography

Technical Notes

The majority of information used for this page was taken from the Ontario Prescription Opioid Tool, which was developed by the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network (ODPRN) in collaboration with the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and Public Health Ontario (PHO). The data source for this tool is the Narcotics Monitoring System (NMS), which captures all opioid prescriptions dispensed in retail pharmacies across Ontario.

Information presented on this page related to geographic differences within Simcoe Muskoka was taken from the report by Refik Saskin and Luis Palma titled Health status and behaviours of residents of the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. The report was completed on May 25, 2020 as part of the response to an Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Applied Health Research Question (AHRQ) submitted to the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU). The data source citation for counts, rates and other figures extracted from the report is: ICES AHRQ Project 2020 0950 055 000.

This AHQR study was supported by ICES, which is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health. Parts of this material are based on data and/or information compiled and provided by CIHI. The opinions, results and conclusions are those of the authors and are independent from the funding and data sources.  No endorsement by ICES, the Ontario Ministry of Health, or CIHI is intended or should be inferred. The contents and interpretation of this web page are solely the responsibility of SMDHU.

Further Reading

For more information about opioid use:

Page Last Modified: August 31, 2020