New guidelines and regulations for opioids

  • We wanted to make sure that all of you have been updated on our conversations with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC (CPSBC) regarding the new opioid regulations. [Link]

    We issued an open letter to the College in June outlining some of our concerns regarding the new standards and guidelines. [Link]

    In July, Pain BC met with the College to discuss the impact of the Standards and Guidelines on people living with pain, their families and those physicians who have approached us with concerns. Pain BC representatives felt that the College was receptive to the concerns raised.

    In the past few weeks, College has recognized the concerns raised by Pain BC and other groups and have issued some clarification. [Link] We encourage everyone involved in this issue to read through these FAQs, and we expect that the College will issue a public statement soon to potentially announce some amendments.

    Some of you have already added your voice to the conversation, and you can continue to share your opinions here on the Forum, or by contacting the College at with your story and your concerns about the Standards and Guidelines.

  • The National Guidelines for use of opioids in chronic non-cancer pain are out. They were developed by the National Pain Centre at McMaster University and funded by Health Canada. The authors encouraged public feedback and comments (now closed), but have stated that the guidelines are unlikely to change unless compelling evidence that the panel hadn't considered is presented.

    We worry that, like the CPSBC Standards and Guidelines, these are being put in place without a system of care to support the transition away from opioids. What do you think of these national guidelines?

    Read the guidelines here.

  • Since the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC (CPSBC) announced changes to the opioid prescribing standards on June 1, 2016, Pain BC and people living with chronic pain, along with representatives from a variety of organizations, have been raising concerns with representatives of the College. In August, we notified Pain BC supporters that the CPSBC had issued a Q&A clarifying the new policy. While the Q&A spelled out the intent of the CPSBC, there was no mention of the revisions that had been made to the Standards on August 5.

    Pain BC has discussed the new Standards several times with the College, and the revisions that were made in August provide some evidence that the College is listening. We are committed to working with our partners to develop and implement tangible solutions to reduce the harms of opioids while making sure the 1 in 5 British Columbians living with pain receive adequate pain relief.

    Read about the CPSBC's revisions to the opioid prescribing standards on our website.

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