CECA welcomes new federal anti-drug strategy, but urges greater attention to alcohol and prescription drug abuse

    TORONTO, March 23 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Executive Council on
Addictions (CECA), a national organization of senior executives of addiction
agencies across Canada, says it welcomes the new National Anti-Drug Strategy
outlined in Monday's federal budget, but is urging the federal government to
continue to treat addictions as a health problem and is also calling for a
greater focus on problems associated with alcohol and prescription drugs.
    "CECA is pleased with the commitment of additional funding to support
Canada's overall efforts to address the problems associated with substance
abuse," said CECA President Gail Czukar, Vice-President of the Centre for
Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). "At the same time, we are offering to work
with the federal government to ensure that addictions are treated as a health
problem, and that there is a policy focus on alcohol and prescription drugs,
which, after tobacco, are the most serious sources of substance abuse and
addictions in Canada."
    A CECA-supported study of economic and social costs associated with
substance abuse, recently published by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse,
determined that alcohol-related problems cost every Canadian $463 in 2002,
compared with a per-capita toll of $262 for illegal drug abuse. As well, the
diversion of prescription pain killers and tranquillizers onto the illegal
market has raised growing concerns over the past few years around the health
of Canadians living in Atlantic Canada and elsewhere.
    "We are pleased that the new federal anti-drug strategy is going to focus
on prevention, awareness and treatment, particularly among youth, and we are
committed to ensuring that this new federal investment will complement the
work already underway by CECA members across Canada," said Ms. Czukar. "To be
truly effective, the strategy needs to focus on the issues that create the
biggest burden for Canada's health care system, including substance abuse and
addictions professionals."

    About CECA

    CECA is a national, non-governmental organization of senior executives of
addiction agencies across Canada. CECA provides a forum for discussion and
collaborative efforts to reduce the harms associated with alcohol and drugs,
strengthens the knowledge of Canadian addiction executives to improve
addiction services across Canada, and provides proactive advice on substance
abuse issues to all orders of government in Canada.
    CECA members include the British Columbia Mental Health and Addiction
Services; Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia; Alberta Alcohol
and Drug Abuse Commission; Saskatchewan Mental Health and Addictions Services;
Addictions Foundation of Manitoba; Centre for Addiction and Mental Health;
Community, Children's, Mental Health and Addictions Services of Newfoundland;
Addiction Prevention and Treatment Services of Nova Scotia; and the Canadian
Centre on Substance Abuse.

For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview with Gail Czukar,
contact: Michael Torres, CAMH Media Relations Coordinator, (416) 595-6015

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Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse

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