Minister Ambrose Launches Video Testimonials on Prescription Drug Abuse - Government of Canada releases four videos featuring personal accounts of those affected by prescription drug abuse

May 28, 2015, 15:35 ET from Health Canada

CALGARY, May 28, 2015 /CNW/ - The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, today unveiled four promotional videos featuring personal stories from Canadians directly affected by prescription drug abuse. As part of the federal approach to combatting prescription drug abuse, these powerful videos aim to increase awareness of the effects of prescription drug abuse on the lives of youth and their families. Each video reflects the real life story of Canadians and the impact of prescription drug abuse on their family, and through a series of powerful images and testimonials, they tell the story of addiction; its consequences, treatment, and recovery.

Minister Ambrose and Health Canada would like to thank the families who have shared their story, as well as the Canadian Addiction Treatment Centres and the Ontario Addiction Treatment Centres for their collaboration on these videos.

The Minister revealed the videos following a meeting with the Calgary Police Service, where she discussed opportunities for intervention, prevention and education relating to prescription drug abuse amongst youth.

Prescription drug abuse is a significant public health and safety concern in North America. Drugs like opioids, sedative-hypnotics and stimulants are legal and have proven therapeutic benefits when prescribed by an appropriate medical professional, but they also have a high potential for harms such as addiction, withdrawal, injury, and death.

This video campaign is one of several ways the Government is supporting initiatives to combat prescription drug abuse. The Government of Canada invests approximately $130 million a year to address addictions and drug abuse in Canada under the National Anti-Drug Strategy. These funds contribute to developing tangible and effective solutions to the problems of drug addiction. In 2014, the government committed over $44 million over five years to expand the focus of the National Anti-Drug Strategy from illicit drugs to include measures to address prescription drug abuse.

Over the past several months, the Government of Canada has taken a number of steps to address prescription drug abuse, including:

  • launching a national marketing campaign to equip parents with the information and tools needed to talk with their teenagers about the harmful effects of prescription drug abuse;
  • providing $13.5 million over five years to enhance prevention and treatment services for prescription drug abuse in First Nations communities;
  • launching the Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse (CRISM), a national research network aimed at improving the health of Canadians living with substance misuse;
    announcing nearly $8 million to support projects to improve prescriber education and to support the development of a national approach to the monitoring and surveillance of prescription drugs; and,
  • announcing nearly $13 million over five years to increase the number of annual pharmacy inspections carried out by Health Canada.

Quick Facts

  • The misuse and abuse of prescription drugs can lead to addiction, overdose and death. The impact on individuals, families and communities is often devastating.
  • In 2013, 22% of Canadians aged 15 and older reported using a psychoactive prescription drug. Of these, 2% (about 146,000) reported abusing the drug for non-medical purposes.
  • In 2008, almost one in five Alberta students reported non-medical prescription drug use in their lifetime.  Another survey from the same year found that, among inner-city drug users, almost 90% reported misusing at least one prescription drug in the past 30 days.
  • The 2012 Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey indicated that close to 1 million youth, aged 15 to 24 years, reported having used prescription drugs in the past 12 months.  The same survey showed that approximately 410,000 Canadians reported abusing prescription drugs.
  • According to the International Narcotics Control Board, Canada is the second-largest per capita consumer of prescription opioids in the world.

Quotes

"Prescription drug abuse has devastating effects on individuals, families and communities. We can all learn from those who so bravely shared their stories through these videos. I want to personally thank the families who are sharing their story with Canadians in hopes of preventing others from the harm and sometimes fatal effects of prescription drug abuse. It is my hope that parents will watch these videos with their teens to open up a dialogue about prescription drug abuse."
The Honourable Rona Ambrose
Federal Minister of Health

"Our Government has made it a priority to fight prescription drug abuse, and we are investing heavily in a range of initiatives to address this issue. I applaud the efforts of Calgary Police Service and the Alberta community members who are tackling this issue head on. By working together we will be able to curb this dangerous trend."
The Honourable Rona Ambrose
Federal Minister of Health

Associated Links

Canada.ca/DrugPrevention
National Anti-Drug Strategy
Combatting Prescription Drug Abuse: Government of Canada Accomplishments

Health Canada news releases are available on the Internet at: www.healthcanada.gc.ca/media

 

SOURCE Health Canada