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Harper Government Encourages Canadians to Participate in National Prescription Drug Drop-Off Day-May 10, 2014

Prescription drug misuse and abuse a growing problem in Canadian communities

GATINEAU, QUEBEC -- (Marketwired) -- 05/07/14 -- Public Safety Canada / Health Canada

Prescription drug abuse and misuse has become an issue of increasing concern in Canada, with impacts on public health and safety, and community well-being. Today, the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, and John Weston, Member of Parliament for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country, along with representatives from the Government of Canada, law enforcement and public and private sectors, highlighted the growing problem of prescription drug misuse and abuse at an event to promote National Prescription Drug Drop-Off Day.

Led by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police in conjunction with Public Safety Canada, National Prescription Drug Drop-Off Day will be held on May 10, 2014. Drop-Off Day is an opportunity for Canadians in communities across Canada to safely dispose of unused pharmaceuticals and to participate in an overall strategy to help combat the problems associated with prescription drug abuse.

In addition to National Prescription Drug Drop-Off Day, Partnership for a Drug Free Canada is also launching a campaign with Shoppers Drug Mart, encouraging Canadians to return their unused or unwanted prescription drugs to local pharmacies on a regular basis.

Our Government is taking action to address this complex issue and ensure that drugs intended to serve as medicine do not become the source of abuse and addiction. As announced in Economic Action Plan 2014, our Government has committed $44.9 million over five years to expand the scope of its National Anti-Drug Strategy to include activities to address prescription drug abuse.

By working together, we can protect Canadians from the misuse of prescription drugs and tackle head on prescription drug abuse and addiction.

Quick Facts

--  The funding announced in the Economic Action Plan 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.

--  The 2012 Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey (CADUMS)
    indicates approximately 410,000 Canadians reported abusing psychoactive
    pharmaceuticals in the past year, more than double the number in 2011.

--  In 2012, about 1 million youth, aged 15 to 24 years, reported having
    used a psychoactive pharmaceutical in the past 12 months. About 210,000
    of these youth also reported having abused them.

--  According to a study published in Canadian Family Physician in 2010,
    over 70% of grade 7-12 students who abused prescription opioids in
    Ontario sourced the drugs from home.


"The criminality associated with prescription drug abuse includes fraudulent use of the healthcare system, pharmacy robberies, drug-impaired driving, and drug trafficking activity, both by criminals and individuals taking advantage of lucrative street markets. That is why partnering with law enforcement and key stakeholders is critical to combatting this growing problem that is affecting many of our communities."

- The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

"The abuse of prescription drugs is a serious public health and safety issue that impacts individuals, families and communities across Canada. Our Government is committed to preventing the abuse of prescription drugs, while ensuring that they remain available for patients who really need them. We are taking action by expanding the National Anti-Drug Strategy to address prescription drug abuse."

- The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health

"I am doubly grateful to see the bolstering of Prescription Drug Drop-off Day. I'm grateful to constituents, who identified the need, then worked with me and the Government to profile the concern, and to help people respond. I'm grateful to the Public Safety and Health Ministers, who took the concern seriously, and acted."

- John Weston, Member of Parliament for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country

"Unused or expired prescription drugs that accumulate in the home are a public health risk as they can cause harm if taken accidentally or misused, particularly by young people and seniors. Drop-Off Day is a great reminder to Canadians to spring-clean their medicine cabinets and that unused or expired prescription medications can be returned to pharmacies anytime throughout the year."

- Dr. Gregory Taylor, Deputy Chief Public Health Officer, Public Health Agency of Canada

"Trends continue to indicate rising rates of recreational misuse of prescription drugs by youth, the majority of whom obtain these drugs from family medicine cabinets and friends. In some regions, health professionals have identified opioid misuses in particular as a public health crisis due to rates of addiction, recreational misuse and overdose deaths. Simply put, unnecessary availability can lead to unintended, tragic consequences."

- Chief Mark Mander, Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police

"We are pleased to be part of a joint effort to help Canadian households to safely dispose of abusable drugs. Last year's three-month campaign in partnership with Shoppers Drug Mart was a resounding success with 44 tons of unused and expired medicine returned to the stores. We hope that by expanding the campaign to six months this year we will continue to insure our kids are safe."

- Marc Paris, Executive Director, Partnership for a Drug Free Canada

Related Products:

- Prescription Drug Abuse Fact Sheet

- The 2012 Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey (CADUMS)

Jason Tamming
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Public Safety
and Emergency Preparedness

Media Relations
Public Safety

Michael Bolkenius
Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
Federal Minister of Health

Media Relations
Health Canada

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