Minister Ambrose to consult Canadians on regulating tamper-resistant properties for prescription drugs

Supports Government's commitment in the 2013 Speech from the Throne

OTTAWA, June 16, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, announced the Government's consultation on a proposal to regulate tamper-resistant properties for prescription drugs that are at a high risk of abuse, including controlled-release oxycodone.

The announcement follows the Government's commitment in the 2013 Speech from the Throne to expand its National Anti-Drug Strategy (NADS) to address prescription drug abuse.

Pursuing tamper-resistant properties in prescription drugs is one mechanism to help curb prescription drug abuse.  Minister Ambrose also committed to consulting with provinces and territories to look at prescribing practices of drugs that have a high risk of abuse.

Minister Ambrose made the announcement while meeting with Ontario First Nations representatives in Ottawa to discuss the issue of prescription drug abuse. During the meeting, First Nations representatives had an opportunity to share successes in addressing prescription drug abuse, as well as discuss the need for further supports for First Nations communities and individuals.

A formal 60-day consultation period will begin when the Notice of Intent to Interested Parties is published in Canada Gazette, Part I later this month. Interested stakeholders are encouraged to submit their comments online or via regular mail.

Quick Facts

  • The 2012 Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey results show opioid pain relievers are among the most commonly abused prescription drugs, and almost one in six (17%) of Canadians aged 15 years and older reported the use of opioid pain relievers in the past 12 months.

  • Economic Action Plan 2014 expanded the focus of the National Anti-Drug Strategy to address prescription drug abuse in Canada, by investing $44.9 million over five years to support new actions for that purpose - including enhancing prevention and treatment services in First Nations communities.

  • The Government is investing more than $236 million annually to support mental health and addictions programming in First Nations and Inuit communities, including mental health promotion, addiction and suicide prevention, mental health counselling, addictions treatment, cultural supports, as well as crisis response services. The department supports a network of 44 community-based addiction treatment centres, as well as drug and alcohol abuse prevention services in the majority of First Nations and Inuit communities.

  • The Standing Committee on Health (HESA) recently completed a comprehensive study on prescription drug abuse which recommended the Government consider the merits of tamper-resistant drugs in addressing prescription drug abuse.


"Our Government is committed to working with First Nations to improve the health and well-being of their communities. This is why I have gathered today with Ontario First Nations Chiefs - to hear the community perspective on prescription drug abuse in Ontario and to collaborate on strengthening our current responses. By continuing to work together, we can strengthen the ability of First Nations to tackle prescription drug abuse and addiction."
Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health

"The addition of tamper resistant properties to drugs at a high risk for abuse could potentially help mitigate prescription abuse, while ensuring that they remain available for patients who really need them. The Government will continue to work in collaboration with all Canadians to advance our common goal of tackling prescription drug abuse."
Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health

"The Assembly of First Nations considers engagement with all levels of government on the subject of prescription drug abuse to be a top priority. We are dealing with a complex and inter-related set of issues and we believe First Nations themselves are best-placed to identify culturally relevant solutions. We welcome continued engagement and collaborative efforts to address prescription drug abuse and, overall, to close the gap in health outcomes between First Nations and the general Canadian population."
Regional Chief Stan Beardy
Ontario Chiefs Committee on Health

Associated Links

Fact Sheet - Tamper-Resistant Properties for Prescription Drugs at Risk of Abuse
2013 Speech from the Throne
National Anti-Drug Strategy
Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey
Report of the Standing Committee on Health
Chiefs of Ontario

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:
(613) 957-2991
1-866 225-0709

Health Canada news releases are available on the Internet at:

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