Ministers Philpott, Hoskins and more than 40 Partner Organizations Commit to Joint Statement of Action to Address the Opioid Crisis

Statement of Action signed at the Opioid Summit in Ottawa

OTTAWA, Nov. 19, 2016 /CNW/ - The growing number of overdoses and deaths related to the use of opioids is a national public health emergency. Solutions must address not only the immediate crisis of poisonings and overdoses, but also the underlying causes of opioid addiction.

Today, as co-chairs of the national Opioid Summit, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Federal Minister of Health, and the Honourable Dr. Eric Hoskins, Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, released a Joint Statement of Action to Address the Opioid Crisis setting out priority actions to address the opioid crisis and a commitment to public reporting on progress. The statement was developed with input from 42 partner organizations, including several provincial and territorial health ministries; dental, nursing, physician, and other health professional associations; and regulatory bodies, among others.

Following a series of productive and insightful discussions and panels at the Opioid Conference on November 18, the statement identified key action items to address the root causes and reduce the harms associated with opioid use, including:

  • empowering healthcare professionals with new tools and guidance on opioids;
  • increasing access to Suboxone® in First Nations communities;
  • improving addiction services;
  • increasing access to Naloxone; and,
  • increasing critical monitoring and surveillance activities across the country.

For example, Quebec's Collège des médecins du Québec and l'Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec commits to establishing a Prescription Monitoring Program and identifying high-risk prescribers and at-risk patients. British Columbia commits to establishing supervised consumption services in locations of high need. The Association of Canadian Faculties of Dentistry will make sure every dentistry student in Canada receives training in safe opioid prescribing and opioid-related harms. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta will adopt a standard of practice that will require all physicians in Alberta to follow the latest guidelines for safe opioid prescribing. And the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador will implement a provincial Prescription Monitoring Program.

The Statement of Action also highlights ongoing work under Health Canada's Opioid Action Plan and Ontario's comprehensive strategy to prevent opioid addiction and overdose. The Canadian Institute for Health Information has committed to ongoing public reporting on key metrics to assess pan-Canadian opioid prevalence, consumption, and harms. Signatories of the Joint Statement of Action to Address the Opioid Crisis have agreed to update the Statement with new, concrete measures as appropriate; report regularly on progress, and to reconvene at a future date.

"I am encouraged by the level of support and contributions that have gone into making the Opioid Conference and Summit a success. Government action in response to the opioid crisis is much stronger when we all work together. There is no single solution to this devastating problem, but we continue to find strength in numbers as we collaborate with our partners to address the opioid crisis in Canada."
Jane Philpott
Federal Minister of Health

"This conference was a critical opportunity to bring together all levels of government and key partner organizations to share our work and develop a united plan to combat this crisis of opioid addiction and overdoses in our communities. Ontario has developed a strong, comprehensive strategy and I was pleased to share our plan to help all jurisdictions work together towards a national approach. I thank everyone who participated in the Opioid Conference and Summit for their dedication to combating this crisis and saving lives."
Eric Hoskins
Ontario Minister of Health and Long Term Care

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SOURCE Health Canada

For further information: Andrew MacKendrick, Office of Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, 613-957-0200; Media Relations: Health Canada and Public Health Agency of Canada, 613-957-2983; Public Inquiries: 613-957-2991, 1-866 225-0709

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