Patient Reference Guide - Opioid Prescribing for Acute Pain Care for People 15 Years of Age and Older


Key Questions: How do I know I am receiving the care I need regarding my acute pain? What questions do I need to ask to gain the right information?

This guide is for people with acute pain and their families. It can help you know what to ask for when receiving treatment and to make sure you receive the highest-quality care. The guide addresses areas of opioid prescribing for acute pain that need attention in our province. It is based on the best available evidence and was created in partnership with people who have experienced acute pain, their caregivers, and healthcare professionals.

For more information: Opioid Crisis Management: Foundation Roadmap

Related Content:


  • What to Discuss With Your Health Care Professional
  • Starting and Stopping Opioid Medications
  • If You Are Already Taking Opioids
  • Notes
  • Looking for more information?
  • About Health Quality Ontario
Link to Tool: 

The tool discusses information in regards to starting and stopping opioid medications. If an individual is considering opioids for acute pain they should:

  • A healthcare provider should assess acute pain through a mental and physical examination 
  • Should discuss alternatives to opioid medications 

When starting or stopping opioid medication:

  • Discuss potential benefits and harms
  • Use the safest treatment 
  • If possible, don't take opioids and benzodiazepines at the same time
  • The lowest dose and lowest strength should be prescribed
  • Severe acute pain association such as surgery may require a longer prescription but not usually longer than 7 days
  • If opioids are stopped suddenly or cut down uncomfortable physical symptoms may occur
  • Understanding safe storage 


Contact Person/Organization: 

Health Quality Ontario

Type of Tool:

Publication Date: