OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 20, 2012) - The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA), on behalf of the National Advisory Council co-chairs to the development of a pan-Canadian strategy on prescription drug misuse, welcomes the federal government's new licensing rules that aim to clamp down on the diversion of controlled release formulations of oxycodone products - prescription drugs that are at a high risk of abuse.
We also applaud Minister Aglukkaq's call to action to her provincial and territorial counterparts in which she indicates that they have "the opportunity - and the responsibility - to work together to tackle the issue of prescription drug abuse head on" and recognizes CCSA's work at developing a national strategy on this critical issue facing Canadians today.
While we note the tremendous attention to and call for resolving the generic oxycontin situation, we also recognize that this is but one element among many that need to be dealt with if we are to truly prevent and address prescription drug abuse.
To that end, the CCSA and its co-chairs are finalizing Canada's first ever pan-Canadian strategy on prescription drug misuse for sedatives, stimulants and opioids. This work is being done with the active engagement and support of government, health agencies, medical and health professional associations, and health, justice, and safety officials, all of whom have a vested interest in bringing a solution forward to address this problem.
The challenge before the National Advisory Council and all Canadians is to recognize the importance of continuing to provide the much-needed access to these types of drugs to those who legitimately need them to control pain, while reducing the harms associated with taking these drugs under conditions that are not what the drugs were originally intended for, providing alternative holistic approaches to care where possible, as well as creating a system that sets alerts to possible diversion of these drugs for illegal purposes.
The pan-Canadian Strategy will achieve this balanced approach through five action streams:
- Education of health professionals
- Surveillance and monitoring
Lastly, we support the action being taken by governments in addressing this problem in Canada. The focus must remain on keeping the health and safety of patients first and on working together nationally and provincially to address this complex issue effectively.
Ms. Carolyn Davison, Director
Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness
Dr. Susan Ulan, Senior Medical Advisor, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta, and Co-chair, Coalition on Prescription Drug Misuse
Michel Perron, CEO
Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse