Steering Committee Meeting of the Canada-United States Joint Action Plan on Opioids
WASHINGTON, D.C. – November 9, 2023 – The following joint statement was released by the Governments of Canada and the United States of America.
Canada and the United States are committed to combatting the devastating overdose crisis and the toxic illegal drug supply driving it. Through the Joint Action Plan on Opioids (OAP), our two countries continue to work jointly on public health and public safety solutions to address substance-related harms and save lives on both sides of the border.
On November 6, 2023, senior officials met in Washington D.C. to discuss the progress made in public health, law enforcement, border security, and postal security collaboration since the last Steering Committee meeting in November 2022.
Key Milestones in 2023
Public health professionals shared lessons learned and expanded their knowledge of both harm and stigma reduction strategies, as well as emerging threats. Officials discussed approaches to address the emerging threat of xylazine, which became more prevalent within the illegal drug supply within the last year. Additionally, they participated in the June 2023 North American Drug Dialogue (NADD) Public Health Summit alongside public health officials from Mexico.
Canadian and U.S. law enforcement agencies continued their seized drug sample sharing program. Through shared samples, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and United States Drug Enforcement Administration are building a greater understanding of drug flows and the threats our countries face. Additionally, this year, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), RCMP, and United States Homeland Security Investigations continued to share innovative approaches and troubleshoot shared challenges to targeting and to interdicting illegal precursor chemical shipments.
Border security agencies from both countries continued their close collaboration. The CBSA and United States Customs and Border Protection undertook a joint audit of their respective detection technology and facilities along the Canada-U.S. border to assess and identify areas of possible cooperation to improve identification and interdiction of smuggled drugs and precursor chemicals. This process is ongoing.
Canada Post and the United States Postal Inspection Service continued to strengthen their partnership to combat illicit drugs being trafficked through the postal stream. Through monthly operational meetings, joint training and sharing of best practices, Canadian and U.S. partners heightened their interdiction capabilities.
During their March 2023 meeting, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Joe Biden affirmed a shared commitment to disrupting each link of the illicit production and distribution of deadly synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, including by preventing the importation of illicit precursor chemicals and continuing to lead efforts to address the synthetic drug crisis on the global stage.
Through law enforcement, border security, public health, and postal security collaboration, the OAP continues to be an effective forum to further these shared values.
Officials agreed to priority areas for strengthened cooperation over the next year to disrupt the illicit opioid supply chain and advance public health cooperation. In 2024, Canada and the United States will work to further strengthen their bilateral counternarcotics partnership by exploring ways to increase information sharing among law and border enforcement agencies, as well as postal services; advance coordinated precursor chemical and synthetic opioid supply chain interdiction efforts; explore additional joint operational activities; and continue public health collaboration to ensure that Canadians and Americans who use substances have stigma-free access to appropriate recovery and harm-reduction resources, pain management and drug checking services.
Press Secretary and Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc
Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs
Public Safety Canada
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