Health Canada Statement on the National Anti-Drug Strategy Evaluation Final Report

Health Canada welcomes the Evaluation of the National Anti-Drug Strategy Final Report, commissioned by the Department of Justice in accordance with the Treasury Board of Canada Policy on Evaluation (2009)Footnote 1 .

On December 12, 2016, the Government of Canada announced the Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy (CDSS), which replaced the National Anti-Drug Strategy. The CDSS is a comprehensive, collaborative, compassionate and evidence-based and public health approach to problematic substance use. The CDSS formally restores harm reduction as a pillar, alongside the existing pillars of prevention, treatment, and enforcement, and transfers governance of the strategy from the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada to the Minister of Health.

Health Canada is working closely with CDSS federal partners, provinces and territories, drug policy stakeholders and people with lived and living experience with drug use to implement the new, more health-focussed federal approach. For example, we are working to support harm reduction efforts by more quickly reviewing applications for supervised consumption sites, and making naloxone more easily available, and supporting a range of innovative pilot projects to help improve drug treatment in Canada, including providing safer pharmaceutical alternatives to illegal drugs. Collectively we are improving our drug enforcement efforts, including preventing dangerous substances like fentanyl from entering Canada. We are also working on other CDSS priorities, such as building the evidence-base for more effective policies and interventions, and reducing the stigma that negatively impacts people who use drugs.

Recognising that the CDSS has a different philosophy and approach to drug and substance use issues compared to the National Anti-Drug Strategy, we will nevertheless learn from the Evaluation Report in terms of what elements and activities have worked well in the past, and what can be improved. Of note, the final report highlighted two key elements within the CDSS framework; the need for harm reduction measures and the need for coordinated efforts to better address the social determinants of drug use.
Health Canada invites Canadians to learn more about the federal government’s new drugs strategy, and the ongoing national efforts to address the opioid crisis here,

Footnotes

Footnote 1

Although the planning process for the evaluation was based on the 2009 Evaluation Policy, the evaluation also ensured compliance with the Treasury Board Policy on Results (2016).

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