Opioid prescribing patterns for treatment of acute and chronic pain in rural and urban British Columbia

Project number: 
Approval date: 
Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Principal Investigator: 
Northern Health Authority and University of Alberta
Funding Agency: 
Not Available
Datasets requested: 
Not available
Research objective: 

The hypothesis of this research is that the differences in patterns relative to opioid overdose events in rural and urban populations may be the result of different drivers. These drivers may include chronic non-cancer pain; additionally, opioid prescription characteristics such as duration, and strength, and the use of multiple prescribers and/or pharmacies. The factors that influence overdose potential would therefore likely be more prevalent in rural populations compared to urban populations, and this would affect the likelihood of an individual experiencing a fatal or non-fatal opioid overdose event.

Research objectives
1. We will evaluate the impact chronic non-cancer pain has had on the likelihood of experiencing a fatal or non-fatal opioid overdose between rural and urban populations.

2. To evaluate and compare prescribing patterns and the impact on fatal and non-fatal opioid overdoses between rural and urban populations in BC in relation to acute and chronic non-cancer pain.

3. To determine the prevalence, within the cohort, of the use of multiple prescribers and/or pharmacies to fill opioid prescriptions in rural and urban populations, and if the use of multiple prescribers/pharmacies has changed as a result of the new prescribing standards implemented by the College of Physicians and Surgeons. The use of multiple prescribers and/or pharmacies will also be examined in relation to fatal and non-fatal opioid overdose events.

Page last revised: September 2, 2019