Government to make warning stickers and patient information handouts mandatory for all opioids dispensed in Canada


February 17, 2017 - Ottawa, ON - Government of Canada

Reducing the harm associated with problematic use of opioids requires a comprehensive response that involves health professionals, law enforcement, and all levels of government. In addition, we must take steps to better inform Canadians about the potential risks associated with the use of these medications.

Today, Health Canada announced that it will put forward a regulatory proposal to make warning stickers and patient information handouts mandatory with all opioids dispensed in Canada. This commitment to raising awareness is a component of Health Canada’s Opioid Action Plan.

The sticker would warn patients about the risks of addiction and overdose with opioid use, and would be applied to the container being dispensed to the patient. The handout would contain broader information on the safe use of opioids and important risks associated with opioid use. By being better informed about their medications, Canadians will be better able to use them appropriately and reduce risks of dependence and overdose. 

Health Canada’s proposed content for the sticker and handout is currently being developed based on the recommendations of the external Scientific Advisory Panel on Opioids, which met in November 2016. The Panel’s full recommendations can be viewed online in the Panel’s Record of Proceedings.

The proposed content and format for both the warning sticker and patient handout will also be included with the draft regulations as part of the Canada Gazette, Part I consultation process later this year. 

Health Canada’s Opioid Action Plan focuses on a broad range of actions to address all parts of the opioid crisis. It includes better informing Canadians about the risks of opioids, supporting better prescribing practices, reducing easy access to unnecessary opioids, supporting better treatment options, reducing the availability and harms of street drugs, and improving the national evidence base. The Joint Statement of Action to Address the Opioid Crisis further builds on commitments to take action on this crisis.

By working together, we can protect ourselves and our families from the harms associated with the problematic use of opioid medications.

The Honourable Jane Philpott, P.C., M.P.


Andrew MacKendrick
Office of Jane Philpott
Minister of Health
(613) 957-0200

Media Relations

Health Canada
(613) 957-2983

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