Budget 2018 Funding for the Opioids Crisis

Backgrounder

The opioid crisis is a national public health crisis that continues to have a devastating impact on individuals, families and communities. That is why the Government of Canada’s Budget 2018 proposes an investment of $231.4 million over five years to address the crisis.

New federal actions span several departments and four areas of focus:

Increasing access to treatment services for all Canadians

Our public health approach to the opioid crisis aims to urgently save lives. Increasing access to treatment for problematic substance use is essential. Too many Canadians are facing barriers to accessing potentially life-saving treatment. New federal actions in this area include:

  • One-time emergency funding of $150 million for provinces and territories to improve access to evidence-based treatment services.
  • $13.5 million to expand Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program to support innovative approaches to treatment and prevention.

Addressing stigma associated with people who use drugs  

We have a collective responsibility to treat all people with dignity and respect. Too often, problematic substance use is viewed as a moral failing or a law and order issue rather than a health condition. This stigma acts as a barrier to accessing critical health and social services, and often leads to social isolation and further health issues. Actions to address stigma will include:

  • $13.0 million over five years to:
    • launch a new national, multi-year public education campaign to help reshape Canadians’ attitudes and perceptions about people who use drugs; and
    • support the development and implementation of government policies that recognize the need to reduce stigma within all government activities. This investment will also support enhanced engagement with those with lived and living experience, so that their knowledge and experience can help guide future government activities.
  • $5.7 million over five years to provide increased training for law enforcement around harm reduction and the de-stigmatization of problematic substance use.

Taking action at our borders and enhancing our support for law enforcement

Powerful opioids such as fentanyl present significant challenges for federal border and law enforcement officers. Canada needs innovative approaches to detect these substances and keep them from entering and exiting our country. Our actions to support border and law enforcement efforts will include:

  • $31.6 million over five years to equip the Canada Border Services Agency to more safely and effectively detect, identify and interdict fentanyl and other highly toxic substances at ports of entry.

Expanding the evidence base to inform and evaluate our response

The success of any response to the opioid crisis depends on timely data and research to inform current and future approaches. Today’s announcement includes several initiatives to improve the evidence base, including:

  • $17.9 million over five years to the Public Health Agency of Canada and Statistics Canada to accelerate access to public health data and analysis. This funding includes additional support to provinces and territories to accelerate data collection and tap into new data sources, as well as data improvements for Indigenous populations.

For more information on federal actions on the opioid crisis, please visit Canada.ca/Opioids


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