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Opioid-related poisonings

This dashboard provides graphs of opioid-related poisonings among Ontario workers who previously experienced a work-related injury or illness.

Opioid-related poisonings, commonly known as overdoses, are defined as toxicity due to an excess of opioids in one’s body. Poisonings occur when opioids (pharmaceutical, non-pharmaceutical, or a combination of both) are taken incorrectly, whether accidentally or intentionally.

Definitions of key terms

A count of the total number of emergency department (ED) visits or hospitalizations due to opioid-related poisonings within a defined group of workers.
Rates per 100,000 person-years
A measure of the number of cases of opioid-related poisonings occurring over a specified period of time relative to the total amount of time all workers are followed. For example, a worker who entered the ODSS on January 1, 2006, and was followed until December 31, 2022, would contribute 17 person-years to the total amount of time workers are followed. In some instances, cases may be higher or lower than rates. This is because rates take into account the size of the worker population at risk of experiencing opioid-related poisonings.
A measure of the number of cases of opioid-related poisonings among people with a particular characteristic (e.g., female sex) or in a specific category (e.g., intent of poisoning) relative to the total number of cases of opioid-related poisonings.
Data suppression
When the number of cases for any particular data point is less than six, it is not reported in the data visualization tool (i.e., data is suppressed). This is to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of Ontario workers included in the ODSS and to adhere to reporting guidelines. As a result of this data suppression, you may see breaks in line graphs, hidden bars in bar graphs, or hidden graphs entirely.
Reflects sex assigned at birth.
Health Region
Includes six regions (Central East, Central West, East, North, South West, Toronto) created by grouping the 34 Public Health Units in Ontario. Learn more about the health regions.
A worker’s occupation at the time the worker experienced their work-related injury or illness, obtained from workers’ compensation claim records. Learn more about the occupation groups.
A worker’s industry at the time the worker experienced their work-related injury or illness, obtained from workers’ compensation claim records. Learn more about the industry groups.
Type of Opioid
Type of opioid present during the poisoning event, classified into six categories: heroin, methadone, opium, other opioids (e.g., codeine, oxycodone, hydromorphone, morphine), other synthetic narcotics (e.g., fentanyl, tramadol), and other and unspecified narcotics. Multiple opioids may be present in a single poisoning event.
Intent behind the poisoning, classified into three categories: accidental (non-intentional), intentional (purposely self-inflicted harm), and unknown (intent is undetermined).

Considerations when using this tool

  • This tool shows opioid-related harms experienced by workers in the ODSS. Workers are included in the ODSS if they had an accepted lost-time workers’ compensation claim for a work-related injury or illness between 1983 and 2019.
  • Opioid-related harms occurring in this group are not necessarily due to opioids prescribed for or used for the injury or illness reported in the workers’ compensation claim records.
  • Occupation and industry were recorded only at the time the worker experienced their work-related injury or illness. The data do not account for whether individuals changed their occupation or industry over time.

The data in the tool do not capture:

  • The reason for opioid use (we do not know if the worker used opioids for their work-related injury or illness or for another reason)
  • Source of the opioid leading to harm (whether the opioids were prescribed or not)
  • History of opioid use among workers (we do not know when workers began using opioids)
  • Opioid-related harms experienced by workers who did not visit an Ontario hospital (in many cases, people who experience an opioid-related poisoning do not make it to a hospital)
  • Outcome of the opioid-related harm (whether fatal or non-fatal)
  • Opioid-related harms experienced by other workers in the Ontario population, including workers who had workers’ compensation claims with no lost time or those with rejected claims, workers with work-related injuries and illnesses who have not submitted a claim, and workers not covered by the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board
  • A worker’s gender (the tool only includes information on sex assigned at birth)

We are hoping to understand how people are planning on using the information provided in the Opioids and Work Data Tool.
Take our short survey to tell us how you might use this tool.