Patient Information

The following patient information is adapted from the College’s safe prescribing standard, the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, and the Canadian National Opioid Use Guidelines for Opioids in Chronic Pain.

Prescription opioids may help with some types of pain in the short term but may have serious risks in the long term. Although they can be an important part of treatment in relieving suffering for patients with active cancer, in hospice or under palliative care, studies are not available to indicate whether opioids control chronic non-cancer pain well when used long-term. 

Before taking opioid medication for chronic pain, talk to your physician about:

  • pain treatment options, including those that do not involve prescription drugs
  • past or current drug and alcohol use
  • the risks and benefits of taking prescription opioids

A list of frequently asked questions is available here.