Safer opioid supply program leads to drop in hospitalizations, ER visits: study

published on September 19, 2022 by Jessica Smith in CTV News Toronto

Safe opioid supply programs can significantly cut down on emergency department visits and hospitalizations for people at high risk for overdose, new research from Ontario suggests.

A study published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal examined people who used a safer opioid supply program in London, Ont., for just over three years, and found ER visits and hospital admissions had declined one year after participants entered the program.

The study also found no increased risk of infections or overdoses and a decline in health-care costs unrelated to primary care or outpatient medications after a year.

Lead author Tara Gomes, an epidemiologist at Unity Health in Toronto, says the study indicates the London safer opioid supply program is “very safe” and a model that should be applied more broadly to expand harm-reduction options for those at high risk of overdose…

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