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The table below contains more information regarding the indicator.

Indicator name

Incidence of opioid and stimulant overdose related harms

Target

Reduction from the previous year in the incidence of opioid and stimulant overdose related harms

Indicator description

This indicator measures the incidence of opioid and stimulant overdose related harms. More specifically, it measures the incidence of:

1. apparent opioid and stimulant toxicity deaths;
2. opioid-related and stimulant-related poisoning hospitalizations; and
3. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) responses to suspected opioid overdoses

Geographical coverage

Canada, provinces and territories

Unit of measurement

Number or rate per 100,000 population

Calculations

Apparent opioid toxicity death (AOTD): A death caused by intoxication/toxicity (poisoning) resulting from substance use, where one or more of the substances is an opioid, regardless of how it was obtained (e.g. illegally or through personal prescription). Other substances may also be involved.

Apparent stimulant toxicity death (ASTD): A death caused by intoxication/toxicity (poisoning) resulting from substance use, where one or more of the substances is a stimulant, regardless of how it was obtained (e.g. illegally or through personal prescription). Other substances may also be involved.

Opioid-related poisoning hospitalization: Acute care hospitalizations that recorded a significant diagnosis for opioid-related poisoning.

Stimulant-related poisoning hospitalization: Acute care hospitalizations that recorded a significant diagnosis for stimulant-related poisoning.

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) responses to suspected opioid overdoses: There is currently no national case definition for suspected opioid-related overdoses attended by EMS. Therefore, each region reports data based on their respective provincial or territorial case definition. Counts are provided by the provinces and territories that collect data from their respective Emergency Medical Services. The data provided by the provinces and territories include EMS responses to suspected overdoses:
- where naloxone was administered by a member of the Emergency Medical Services or a bystander on site, or
- where naloxone was not necessarily administered but an opioid-related overdose was suspected.

Data on opioid-related and stimulant-related poisoning hospitalizations are not mutually exclusive. A proportion of poisoning hospitalizations involving a stimulant also involved an opioid. Adding up those numbers would result in an overestimation of the burden of opioids and stimulants.

Comments and limitations

Data from Quebec are excluded from the hospitalization rate.

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