A CLINICAL REVIEW OF THE DIAGNOSIS, TREATMENT AND PREVENTION OF OPIOID-RELATED HARMS
In North America, and Canada in particular, the harms associated with the increased use of prescription and illicit opioids constitute a serious public health concern. Further to this, the recent emergence and increased availability of fentanyl in illicit drug markets has contributed substantially to an increasing number of opioid-related overdoses and deaths. Awareness of the clinical presentation, management options and preventative measures for opioid overdose are important universally for clinicians if we are to help combat this growing epidemic. Here, we provide a brief review of the scope of the opioid problem, discuss how to make the diagnosis and provide evidence-based care for an individual presenting with an opioid overdose. We also review several important harm-reduction strategies that can be utilized to prevent future opioid-related harms with a focus on those utilized in Vancouver, BC.