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Reducing the Role of Opioids in Pain Management

A recent report by the Coalition for Safe and Effective Pain Management, suggests the best way to cut down on opioid addiction is to not prescribe the drugs in the first place. The coalition aims to reduce the prevalence of opioid prescribing by optimizing non-pharmacological pain management alternatives in Canada.

I invited Michael Heitshu, Chair of the Coalition for Safe and Effective Pain Management and Director of Public Affairs of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, to give our audience an idea about the role of the coalition in the fight against opioids and to hear his message to Canadian dentists about the rising epidemic. 

I hope you find the interview informative. Please share your thoughts, feedback and suggestions with us at oasisdiscussions@cda-adc.ca

Chiraz Guessaier, CDA Oasis Manager


  • The Coalition recognizes the complexity of the opioid crisis, and believe it is made worse by Canada’s current approach to pain management.
  • A better approach to pain management can address the tremendous costs incurred by a system improperly organized to treat pain, and provide those in Canada with improved integration of and access to non-pharmacological alternatives, thereby reducing the need for opioids.
  • There is increasing understanding of the many opioid-related harms and risks, including addiction, potentially fatal respiratory depression, depression, chronic constipation, osteoporosis, an overall increased risk of death and, paradoxically, more pain.
  • There is a critical need for more research into the reasons for opioid prescribing and safer alternatives that can reduce its prevalence and prevent future problems.
  • The goal in pain management is to afford the patient more benefit than harm, and provide effective and safe treatment options to patients. To help in decision-making, more research is needed to compare the safety and outcomes of opioids (and other pharmacological approaches) to non-pharmacological treatment alternatives in both the short-and long-term. This research should consider safety, side effects and other risks, as well as function and quality of life, along with pain measurement benefits.

Access and Download the Coalition’s Interim Report: Reducing the Role of Opioids in Pain Management (PDF)

Full Interview (11.32″)


1 Comment

  1. Graham McMillan December 13, 2017

    There is a place for opioid analgesics in dentistry just as there is one for benzodiazepines. Dentists in general manage pain very well as we are in the business of both relieving it and causing it.

    Medicine in general tends to significantly over- or under prescribe pain medication in my experiences so let us as dentists take caution in the advice from others much less experienced with the management of our main symptom of focus.


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