Minister Glover Announces Funding for Addictions Prevention and Treatment Services in First Nations Communities in Manitoba

Government of Canada invests in supports and services to address prescription drug abuse

WINNIPEG, April 14, 2015 /CNW/ - The Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, on behalf of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, today announced funding that will enhance access to addictions supports for prescription drug abuse (PDA) for First Nations living on-reserve in Manitoba.

Prescription drug abuse is a significant public health and safety concern in North America. Drugs like opioids, sedative-hypnotics and stimulants are legal and have proven therapeutic benefits, but they also have a high potential for harms such as addiction, withdrawal, injury, and death.

Manitoba First Nations will receive more than $2.96 million in funding over five years, which will provide existing treatment centres with more money to tailor effective interventions and enhanced support for individuals struggling with prescription drug addiction. It will also fund prevention training activities for staff who treat individuals battling prescription drug addiction, and a prescription drug abuse crisis intervention team, that is, a group of PDA specialists, who can advise caregivers in treatment facilities on the best way to manage clients with severe PDA issues. The team will be co-ordinated through two regional hubs, one in Saskatchewan and one in Manitoba.

In Manitoba the crisis intervention team will be coordinated through the Opaskwayak Cree Nation Health Authority located in northern Manitoba to support enhanced crisis management to First Nations. Prescription Drug Abuse experts will now be available to support First Nations in the development of work plans and approaches to address PDA in their community context and link them to additional services and supports.  The Opaskawyak Cree Nation Health Authority will work with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan to establish a community of practice and a bank of knowledge and best practise information to enhance PDA approaches in Manitoba and across the country. 

Earlier today, Minister Ambrose made the National announcement in Regina, Saskatchewan, announcing $13.5 million in overall funding over five years to enhance prevention and treatment capacity for prescription drug abuse within First Nations communities across Canada.

Quick Facts

  • In 2013, 22% of Canadians aged 15 and older reported using a psychoactive prescription drug. Of these, 2% (about 146, 000) reported abusing the drug for non-medical purposes.
  • Young people are using prescription drugs for non-medical reasons, and of those who do, many say they got them from the family medicine cabinet.
  • The 2014 Economic Action Plan committed over $44 million over five years to expand the focus of the National Anti-Drug Strategy from illicit drugs to address prescription drug abuse, including initiatives to educate Canadian consumers on the safe use, storage and disposal of prescription medications.
  • The Government of Canada 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. Health Canada 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.


"Our Government is committed to addressing the issue of prescription drug abuse.  Today's announcement will help First Nations living in Manitoba who are facing prescription drug abuse issues in their communities.  This funding will ensure there is access to culturally relevant care and support.
The Honourable Shelly Glover
Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

"One of the most important parts of any movement, national or not, is about good partnerships and we recognize how important those partnerships are when addressing our final goal of reducing the prescription drug abuse in First Nations communities and across Canada."
Val Charlette
Mental Health Coordinator of the Beatrice Wilson Health Centre and Coordinator of the Crisis Intervention Unit 

Associated Links
National Native Alcohol and Addiction Program 
Honour our Strengths 
National Native Addictions Partnership Foundation 
Opaskwayak Cree Nation Health Authority

Health Canada news releases are available on the Internet at:


SOURCE Health Canada

For further information: Contacts: 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

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