13 Canadians hospitalized each day for opioid poisoning infographic

On average in 2014–2015, there were 13 hospitalizations for opioid poisoning each day in Canada.

Who is being hospitalized and why?

Seniors age 65+ had the highest rate of hospitalization for opioid poisoning, reaching 20 per 100,000 population in 2014–2015. Of the opioid poisonings experienced by seniors between 2007–2008 and 2014–2015, 55% were accidental, 14% were intentional and 24% were therapeutic (e.g., an adverse effect when the medication was taken as directed); the intent was unknown for 7%.

Youth age 15 to 24 had the fastest growing rate of hospitalization for opioid poisonings, increasing by 62% to 10 per 100,000 population between 2007–2008 and 2014–2015. Of the opioid poisonings experienced by youth during that time, 52% were intentional, 31% were accidental and 2% were therapeutic; the intent was unknown for 15%. 

How do rates differ across Canada?

Age-adjusted rates of hospitalization due to opioid poisoning varied across the provinces and territories in 2014–2015, from a high of 20.5 per 100,000 population in Saskatchewan to a low of 9.7 per 100,000 population in Quebec.

The age-adjusted rates per 100,000 population for each province and the territories were as follows: Newfoundland and Labrador, 12.4; P.E.I., 14.3; Nova Scotia, 11.4; New Brunswick, 14.0; Quebec, 9.7; Ontario, 11.0; Manitoba, 10.8; Saskatchewan, 20.5; Alberta, 18.6; B.C., 19.1; and Territories, 16.7. The Canada rate was 13.4.

Note that Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut data is grouped together and reported as “Territories” due to low volumes. The direct standardization process was used with the 2011 Canadian population as the reference year.

Source: Hospital Morbidity Database, Canadian Institute for Health Information.