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Addressing Prescription Drug Misuse

​​​​​​​The harms associated with prescription drugs, such as opioids, stimulants, sedatives and tranquillizers, are a public health and safety concern that has reached crisis proportions in Canada. These harms are borne by individuals, families and communities, as well as by healthcare, social service and public safety systems. The issue has been identified as a priority for action by all levels of government and many organizations over the past decade.

Joint Statement of Action to Address the Opioid Crisis

At the Opioid Conference and Summit in November 2016, CCSA joined over 40 other organizations to lay out concrete commitments to bring about the changes required to reduce the harms related to prescription drug misuse in Canada. Those commitments were gathered in a Joint Statement of Action to Address the Opioid Crisis. CCSA has issued a report in the progress on the first three months of the collaborative effort, and will continue to do so as part of its commitment.

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CCSA will continue to work with partners as well as the Government of Canada to safeguard the health and safety of Canadians.

Collective action to implement the First Do No Harm strategy

The strategy First Do No Harm: Responding to Canada's Prescription Drug Crisis was launched on March 27, 2013. This 10-year pan-Canadian strategy lays out 58 recommendations across five areas:

  • Prevention

  • Education

  • Treatment

  • Monitoring and Surveillance

  • Enforcement

Additional recommendations are associated with legislation and regulation, research and evaluation.

The strategy continues to be led by the First Do No Harm Executive Council providing ongoing guidance in the coordination, implementation and evaluation of these recommendations. The Executive Council has committed to coordinating efforts with CCSA to ensure the evolution of the strategy is cohesive with the work of the Joint Statement of Action to Address the Opioid Crisis in Canada.

Pan-Canadian Collaborative on Education for Improved Opioid Prescribing

CCSA is part of the Pan-Canadian Collaborative on Education for Improved Opioid Prescribing, a partnership initiated and chaired by the College of Family Physicians of Canada to address the harms of prescription opioids. The collaborative offers a depth of multi-dimensional expertise in sustainable physician learning and practice, creation and aggregation of knowledge, and translation of evidence into practice. ​

​The collaborative’s approach includes key initiatives to inform prescribing practice across Canada in the effective management of pain, and recognition and treatment of addiction. The other members of the collaborative are:

Members of the collaborative are helping to disseminate the 2017 Canadian Guideline for Opioids for Chronic Pain, the update of which was coordinated by the Michael G. DeGroote National Pain Centre. The Guideline was initially published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal and the Association has contributed a version of it in poster format.

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