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The Government of Canada Encourages Canadians to Join the Efforts to Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse

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April 30, 2015 - Ottawa - Health Canada and Public Safety Canada

Prescription drug abuse is a serious public health and safety issue that impacts individuals, families and communities across Canada. The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health and the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, are encouraging all Canadians to participate in National Prescription Drug Drop-Off Day on Saturday, May 9, which will be coordinated by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police in communities across Canada.

National Prescription Drug Drop-Off Day provides an opportunity for Canadians to drop off their unused and expired prescription medication to local police and community partners at specific locations to ensure safe disposal. This initiative aims to reduce the volume of prescription drugs available for misuse and inform the public of the harms associated with prescription drug abuse. It also reminds Canadians that unused prescription drugs can be returned to local pharmacies for disposal any day of the year.

National Prescription Drug Drop-Off Day is one of several ways the Government of Canada is working to combat prescription drug abuse. Last fall, the Government of Canada launched a national marketing campaign which equipped parents with the information and tools needed to talk with their teenagers about the harmful effects of prescription drug abuse and marijuana use, and earlier this year, the Government of Canada also announced an investment of $13.5 million over five years to enhance access to addictions support, prevention and treatment capacity for prescription drug abuse for First Nations living on-reserve across the country.

Quick Facts

  • Through Economic Action Plan 2014, the Government of Canada has committed more than $44 million over five years to expand the scope of the National Anti-Drug Strategy to include measures to address prescription drug abuse.
  • 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.
  • According to a 2013 Ontario survey, one in eight youth reported using a prescription opioid drug for non-medical purposes, and approximately 70% said they obtained the drug from home.
  • Nationally, 42% of Canadian police agencies actively participated in the 2014 Prescription Drug Drop-Off Day.
  • Participating agencies reported recovering over 1.5 tons of prescription drugs in the 2014 Drop-Off Day.