Prescription drug abuse is a serious public health and safety issue for many communities across Canada. It is having a devastating impact on individuals, families and First Nations.
The Government of Canada is committed to prevent the misuse of prescription drugs while ensuring that they remain available for patients who really need them.
Addressing this complex issue involves collaboration from many stakeholders in the health care system, including federal, provincial and territorial governments, health care providers, law enforcement and others.
Health Canada and Public Safety Canada are working with The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) to promote CACP’s second annual Prescription Drug Drop-Off Day on Saturday, May 10. On that day, police agencies across the country will host events with community partners to provide an easy way for people to dispose of unused and expired prescription drugs.
Partnership for a Drug Free Canada (PDFC) and Shoppers Drug Mart are also launching a six-month campaign to encourage parents to return unused and expired prescription drugs and over the counter (OTC) medicine to their local pharmacy any day of the year, in an effort to reduce the amount of drugs available for abuse by teenagers. According to PDFC estimates, 350,000 Canadian children have taken prescription medications not prescribed to them, and 70% say the stole the pills from home.
In addition to helping support these important initiatives, the Government has committed $44.9 million over five years to expand its National Anti-Drug Strategy to include prescription drug abuse. This new investment builds on the commitment made in the 2013 Speech from the Throne and will be used to educate Canadian consumers on the safe use, storage and disposal of prescription medications, enhance prevention and treatment services in First Nations communities, increase inspections to minimize the diversion of prescription drugs from pharmacies for illegal sale, and improve surveillance data on prescription drug abuse in Canada.