Bending the curve on opioid prescribing


We care about Albertans living with chronic pain. We recognize physicians had a role in creating the opioid crisis and must be part of the solution. We are not asking physicians to stop prescribing opioids, but to prescribe responsibly. These are our messages to the public and our members, and we reinforce them at every opportunity.

We are not asking physicians to stop prescribing opioids, but to prescribe responsibly.

Data show physicians ARE prescribing opioids in lower doses and to fewer patients, and it could be in response to evidence-based guidelines, better physician education, new prescribing rules and general awareness of opioid-related issues. While generally the trend we want to see, what’s most important is making sure the reductions are happening in a safe and compassionate way, and that patients and prescribers feel supported in using opioids appropriately.

Here’s how we’re doing that.

New Prescribing standard of practice & advice document for drugs with potential for misuse or diversion, with specific safeguards for opioid prescribing. Read it at

MD Snapshot reports to inform physicians with their own prescribing data and relate it to best practice.

Expanded practice tools and resources at, including the new Canadian Guideline for Opioids for Chronic Non-Cancer Pain and community links.

Monitoring and mentoring programs that use data from Alberta’s Triplicate Prescription Program to identify physicians who are prescribing a very high dose or quantity of opioids, prescribing an opioid concurrently with a benzodiazepine (a high-risk combination), or prescribing for a patient showing signs of an addiction disorder. Physicians receive targeted support to improve their prescribing practice and safely manage their patients’ care.

New opioid safety fact sheets for patients, a collaboration with Alberta’s pharmacists and nurses to give patients the information they need to be partners in their own safe care.

Partnerships with educators, government and other healthcare professionals to improve training, collaborate on provincial and national strategies, develop harm-reduction guidance and identify gaps in resources for this area of practice.

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