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Background

In November of 2016, then-Federal Health Minister Dr. Jane Philpott and Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Eric Hoskins called the Opioid Conference and Opioid Summit to order and released a Joint Statement of Action to Address the Opioid Crisis describing the broad-based response the federal and provincial government is taking to address the complex causes of opioid access, abuse, and addiction.

It was clear that the immediate focus of Canada’s health minister was on those most at risk from opioids, but there was recognition that more needed to be done upstream to be reducing the number of new opioid users. This was seen as a key opportunity to bring together healthcare professions and other organizations with a shared interest in changing the conversation about how we approach pain management in Canada.

CSEPM started its work in February 2017, with the goal of a final report with recommendations later in 2017.

In March, 2017, Health Canada added CSEPM to the Joint Statement of Action to Address the Opioid Crisis.

These recommendations for patient and practitioner strategies, and a better overall approach to pain management are intended to reduce the number of new opioid users, and reduce the future extent of Canada’s opioid crisis. The objective of this work is to improve integration and access to non-pharmacological pain management to reduce the prevalence of opioid prescribing in Canada. This Interim Report, and the full Report set to be released in Winter 2018, will support implementation of the National Pain Centre’s 2017 Recommendations for Use of Opioids in Chronic Non-Cancer Pain, which strongly recommends the optimization of alternatives to opioids.