Skip to main content

System Performance

Opioid Prescribing in Ontario

woman in a leather jacket standing on her porch

Despite the increasing numbers of opioid-related deaths and the growing prevalence of opioid addiction, the total number of prescriptions filled in Ontario continues to rise.

Titled, 9 Million Prescriptions, this Health Quality Ontario report shows that:

  • People in Ontario filled more than 9 million prescriptions for opioids in 2015/16, up by nearly 450,000 prescriptions from three years earlier.

  • More people in Ontario are being prescribed stronger opioids. For example, the number of people who filled a prescription for hydromorphone – which is approximately five times stronger than morphine – increased by nearly 30% over three years, to almost 259,000 people, from just over 200,000.

  • Nearly two million people in Ontario fill prescriptions for opioids every year -- translating into one in every seven Ontarians, or 14% of the province’s population.

  • View online report     Download the report

    If you have a question about this report, email


Learn more about META:PHI, a first-of-its-kind research project helping people struggling with opioid and alcohol addiction

Read the Plan
physician and patient discussing treatment options

MyPractice: Primary Care

Are you a primary care physician practicing in Ontario? Coming this fall, Health Quality Ontario’s MyPractice: Primary Care Reports will provide data on opioid prescribing rates. Register now to receive your report.

Learn more
Doctors discussing data in their reports

Opioid Wisely

Learn about Choosing Wisely Canada's campaign to reduce harms associated with opioid prescribing.

Learn more
Opioid Wisely campaign

Let’s make our health system healthier

Join Our Patient, Family and Public Advisors Program

Patients, families and the public are central to improving health quality.

Man smiling

Sign up for our newsletter

Are you passionate about quality health care for all Ontarians? Stay in-the-know about our newest programs, reports and news.

Health Quality Connect - Health Quality Ontario's newsletter - on an iPad and a cell phone