Opioid Stewardship Program
What is Stewardship?
Stewardship is generally defined as using or managing a resource in a responsible way. Opioid stewardship recognizes that opioids are a class of drug that can have bad effects on our health when they are used inappropriately. Thus, an opioid stewardship program works to help ensure appropriate opioid use.
Opioid stewardship is everyone’s responsibility. For health-care providers, it means staying up to date with current evidence and appropriate prescribing practices and communicating this information to patients. For patients, it means questioning whether an opioid is the most appropriate treatment and practicing safe handling, storage, and disposal of opioids.
The Opioid Stewardship Program supports clinicians and patients with evidence-based education on the appropriate prescribing of opioids and promotes non-drug therapies for managing pain, including: physiotherapy, exercise therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, and self-management techniques like meditation, yoga, or hypnosis. We work to ensure that opioid prescriptions are given appropriately throughout the health-care system and promote education on balancing opioid use with the inherent risks involved with using these medications.
Patient education is important to increase awareness of safe and appropriate opioid use. Encouraging conversations between patients and prescribers about opioids and alternative treatments is important to ensure patients are getting the most appropriate treatment.