Opioid Use Disorder Among Older Adults
According to the World Health Organization, people over the age of 50 accounted for 39% of deaths from drug use disorders in 2015. Of those deaths in older adults (age ≥ 65), approximately 75% were linked to the use of opioids (Degenhardt & Hall, 2012; UNODC, 2018).
In Canada, 43.9% of adults > 55 years of age have used a prescription opioid and 1.1% of that group have done so daily (or almost daily) in the last year (Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, 2018).
There is a growing population of older adults developing opioid use disorder (OUD). In addition to this, there are older adults with longstanding OUD (including people who use illicit opioids) that require treatment for their addiction and related health problems.
Tools for Clinicians:
The purpose of these clinical guidelines is to highlight the issues facing older adults with, or at risk for, an OUD, and to provide recommendations for the prevention, screening, assessment, and treatment of an OUD in those ≥ 65 years of age.
This list is designed to help primary health care & clinical care providers assess and discuss with persons aged 65 or older, the potential risks and benefits of opioid use.
Learn about CCSMH’s Canadian Guidelines detailing the evidence and best practice recommendations for the prevention, assessment and treatment of opioid use disorder among older adults.