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First Annual Report of First Do No Harm: Responding to Canada’s Prescription Drug Crisis Ottawa, June 18, 2014 — The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA), in partnership with the First Do No Harm National Advisory Council (FDNH NAC), today released a comprehensive update of the activities undertaken in the first implementation year of First Do No Harm: Responding to Canada’s Prescription Drug Crisis, a 10-year pan-Canadian strategy that aims to reduce the harms associated with prescription drug misuse. Launched last year, FDNH is a comprehensive 10-year, pan-Canadian strategy to address the harms associated with prescription drug misuse, such as opioids, stimulants, sedatives and tranquilizers. The Strategy addresses a very complex public health and safety issue involving legal substances with clear therapeutic benefits, but which are also associated with harms such as addiction, overdose and death. In the last year, the Strategy has succeeded in raising the profile of the issue of prescription drug misuse across Canada and with public policy decision makers. The federal government announced in the 2013 Speech from the Throne the inclusion of prescription drug misuse in the National Anti-Drug Strategy (NADS). The federal Minister of Health co-led with CCSA a national symposium on prescription drug misuse, bringing together a broad representation of stakeholders to discuss how to operationalize the three NADS pillars—prevention, treatment and enforcement—with respect to prescription drug misuse. Funding for this priority was confirmed in the federal government 2014 Economic Action Plan, with NADS funding increased over five years by $44.9 million. Furthermore, a report released this spring by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health extensively referenced the First Do No Harm Strategy and recommended that NADS efforts in this area consider the Strategy’s findings and recommendations. Federal-provincial-territorial ministers of health also identified several of the Strategy’s recommendations as key priorities for addressing the issue of prescription drug misuse in Canada, including establishing a national prescription monitoring program network, building a foundation for a national surveillance plan, and coordinating activities on health practitioner education. First Do No Harm is a clear plan that provides much-needed focus for actions at all levels of government and among organizations that have ownership of the problem and the solutions. CCSA worked with Alberta Health on a number of initiatives designed to better educate prescribers of these medications on health risks and harms. CCSA also partnered with the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police to organize and support two national Prescription Drug Drop-Off Days. Finally, implementation work continues on developing a network of prescription drug monitoring programs, and identifying key components of a national surveillance system that would track prescribing trends and serve as an early warning system to identify possible misuse. Quotes from the FDNH NAC Co-chairs “We are proud of the work and results accomplished during the Strategy’s first year and are very pleased to release our inaugural annual report,” said Dr. Susan Ulan, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta. “In just one year we have been able to raise the profile of prescription drug misuse to a point where governments at all levels have engaged in a collaborative action plan to address this significant public health issue,” stated Carolyn Davison, Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness. 500-75 rue Albert Street, Ottawa ON K1P 5E7 • Tel./Tél. : 613-235-4048 • Fax/Téléc. : 613-235-8101 •

News Release: First annual report of First Do No Harm: Responding to Canada’s Prescription Drug Crisis

“We wish to thank all levels of governments and other stakeholders for their tangible efforts and investments over the last year to ensure the successful early implementation of First Do No Harm,” said Michel Perron, Chief Executive Officer of CCSA. “This commitment has been essential to the progress made so far, and our future success in reducing the harms of prescription drugs in Canada requires their continued involvement and support.” Media Contact

The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse changes lives by bringing people and knowledge together to reduce the harm of alcohol and other drugs on society. We partner with public, private and non-governmental organizations to improve the health and safety of Canadians. CCSA activities and products are made possible through a financial contribution from Health Canada. The views of CCSA do not necessarily represent the views of the Government of Canada.

500-75 rue Albert Street, Ottawa ON K1P 5E7 • Tel./Tél. : 613-235-4048 • Fax/Téléc. : 613-235-8101 •


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