Minister Ambrose Continues to Fight Prescription Drug Abuse

Continued dialogue needed to make a tangible difference

OTTAWA, April 15, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, reaffirmed her commitment to tackle the growing problem of prescription drug abuse head on.

The Government of Canada will continue to work with groups like the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, different levels of government, doctors, pharmacists, First Nations representatives, law enforcement and addictions specialists to help combat prescription drug abuse, including those associated with oxycontin.

Recently, Mr. Ben Lobb, Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, tabled the Committee's report entitled, The Government's Role in Addressing Prescription Drug Abuse in Canada. The Minister will review the report's recommendations.

As announced in the 2013 Speech from the Throne and Economic Action Plan 2014, the Government has committed to expanding the scope of its National Anti-Drug Strategy to address prescription drug abuse. These actions build on steps we have already taken to limit the illegal diversion of prescription opioids through tighter licensing rules under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Through the Non-Insured Health Benefits Prescription Monitoring Program, we are also addressing the potential misuses of prescription drugs so that First Nations and Inuit clients can get the medications they need without being put at risk.

Quick Facts

  • The 2012 Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey (CADUMS) indicates approximately 410,000 Canadians reported abusing psychoactive pharmaceuticals in the past year, more than double the number in 2011.

  • In 2012, about 1 million youth, aged 15 to 24 years, reported having used a psychoactive pharmaceutical in the past 12 months. About 210,000 of these youth also reported having abused them.

  • Addressing prescription drug abuse is a shared responsibility for which Federal/Provincial/Territorial governments and civil society groups have committed to work together.

  • The federal government has provided funding support to the CCSA, which developed a strategy entitled "First Do No Harm: Responding to Canada's Prescription Drug Crisis" that continues to be a key tool.

Quotes

"Our Government is committed to working with our partners to address prescription drug abuse. Together, we can tackle prescription drug abuse head on and make a difference."
Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health

"Prescription drug misuse has reached crisis proportions in Canada. We commend the leadership taken to date by the federal government to address this issue; namely, the expansion of the National Anti-Drug Strategy to include licit drugs, and the commitment of $44.9 million in the 2014 Economic Action Plan to support these efforts."
Michel Perron
Chief Executive Officer, CCSA

"Canada has taken important steps to tackle prescription drug abuse. We encourage the Government to review the report recommendations and implement additional actions to address prescription drug abuse."
Ben Lobb, MP, Huron-Bruce
Chair, Standing Committee on Health

Associated Links

Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse - Prescription Drug Misuse
First Do No Harm: Responding to Canada's Prescription Drug Crisis
Using Medications Safely
Drug and Alcohol Use Statistics
National Anti-Drug Strategy

SOURCE Health Canada

For further information:

Michael Bolkenius
Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
Federal Minister of Health
(613) 957-0200

Health Canada
Media Relations
(613) 957-2983

Public Inquiries:
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1-866 225-0709

Health Canada news releases are available on the Internet at: www.healthcanada.gc.ca/media