Canadians from all walks of life have been profoundly impacted by the effects of problematic opioid use, and the crisis continues to claim lives at an alarming rate. By making investments in targeted, priority-driven research, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) can mobilize researchers to confront threats such as the opioid crisis, increasing awareness of the issue and our capacity to respond.

The Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy, the Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction (INMHA), and the Institute of Health Services and Policy Research (IHSPR), funded 22 knowledge syntheses (an investment of over $1.8-million) with the goal of generating a large amount of knowledge in a short duration of time that would help tackle the opioid epidemic.  Our team was fortunate to receive one grant: “Healthcare provider knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and practices around prescribing opioids to manage chronic-non-cancer pain.

Funding Source: CIHR


Opioids analgesics can improve pain and function for many patients, but the decision to prescribe is complicated, and not without risk. Clinical practice guidelines help healthcare providers and their patients decide when potential benefits outweigh possible risks. Dr. Josh Rash collaborated with researchers, patients, and policy-makers from across Canada to examine 96 studies reporting on the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of nearly 18,500 healthcare providers to see how these factors affect opioid prescribing practices. They observed that regulated professionals follow treatment guidelines with their patients in approximately 50% of interactions. Reasons for deviating from recommendations range from concerns surrounding potential misuse and other side effects, diversion of medication, regulatory scrutiny, and practitioner concerns in implementing complex recommendations. Interventions that target provider beliefs, and provide education and practical tools show improved adherence to clinical practice guidelines.

A link to detailed information page can be found here.

A link to final report in pdf format can be found here.


To follow…