Canada is in the midst of an opioid crisis, making it important to disseminate standardized approaches and evidence-based recommendations for managing opioid use disorder. Opioid Agonist Therapy: A Synthesis of Canadian Guidelines for Treating Opioid Use Disorder is a national clinical guideline that harmonizes existing provincial and national guidelines, evidence-based practices and expert opinions into one document aimed at providing consistent and high-quality care to people with opioid use disorder.
Opioid agonist therapy is the most effective treatment option for opioid use disorder, ideally combined with behavioural and social supports. It can stabilize the cycle of intoxication and withdrawal, reduce opioid cravings and block the intoxicating effects of other short-acting opioids, including fentanyl. People who are maintained on opioid agonist therapy typically experience improved health and social functioning and reduced risk of overdose.
CAMH worked with subject matter experts and medical regulatory authorities across Canada to reach consensus on recommendations from existing guidelines. The aim of this unified guideline is to standardize expectations for Canadian prescribers, but not to replace any adopted guidelines. Please consult your professional regulatory body for specific guidance in your jurisdiction.