Health Canada



Health Canada

December 18, 2013 15:18 ET

Harper Government Invests in Drug Prevention Strategy for Youth

Minister Ambrose attends roundtable on treatment and recovery to listen to Canadians

COBBLE HILL, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Dec. 18, 2013) - The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, today attended a roundtable meeting at the Cedars at Cobble Hill Addiction Treatment Centre on Vancouver Island to discuss treatment and recovery.

"There are millions of Canadians living in short and long-term recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs," said Minister Ambrose. "Today's roundtable was about listening to experts and community members about what we can do better to prevent our children and youth from using drugs, and to further support people in recovery from addiction."

The Minister was joined by physicians and leading addiction recovery specialists at the Cedars treatment facility where real, practical solutions to support Canadians in prevention and recovery were discussed.

While at the meeting, the Minister announced funding for A Health Promotion and Drug Prevention Strategy for Canada's Youth - a national project led by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) as part of the Federal Government's National Anti-Drug Strategy. The goal of this project is to prevent illicit drug use among Canadians between the ages of 10 and 24 through education, national prevention standards and building sustainable partnerships.

"The funding from Health Canada will allow us to continue working with our partners, building on successes we've already achieved together, in order to prevent youth substance abuse in Canada," said Michel Perron, CCSA's Chief Executive Officer. "More specifically, it is important to us that we can contribute to the growing field of research on the effects of cannabis use - both on the developing brains of our young people, as well as impacts on impaired driving."

"Preventing substance abuse among young people is a critical focus of the Government's National Anti-Drug Strategy," said Minister Ambrose. "Through this contribution, we are helping to increase awareness among youth of the dangers of experimenting with drugs, assisting parents in keeping their kids drug-free, and ultimately keeping our communities safe and healthy."

"Cedars at Cobble Hill was honoured to host this important event today," said Neal Berger, Executive Director of Cedars. "We are thrilled with the leadership of Minister Ambrose in making recovery and prevention a priority."

Through the National Anti-Drug Strategy (NADS) the Government contributes to reducing drug use among youth, and enables the development of national, provincial, territorial, local and community-based solutions for combatting drug abuse among youth.

The NADS is an ongoing strategy, announced in October 2007, carried out under three action plans:

  • The Prevention Action Plan, which aims to prevent drug use;

  • The Treatment Action Plan, which aims to treat those with drug dependencies;

  • The Enforcement Action Plan, which aims to combat the production and distribution of illicit drugs.

In the recent Speech from the Throne, our Government committed to expand the scope of the National Anti-Drug Strategy to include prescription drug abuse. We recognize that the abuse of prescription drugs is a serious public health and safety issue for many communities across Canada and we are addressing it head on.

The attached Fact Sheet provides more information on the projects being funded.

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Fact Sheet December 2013

Through its Drug Strategy Community Initiatives Fund, Health Canada is providing the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) with $11.5M over five years to support a project entitled A Health Promotion and Drug Prevention Strategy for Canada's Youth.

CCSA is focusing on five key priority areas for this national project.

  • Development of Knowledge Exchange Network for Prevention

Work will focus on increasing networking, collaboration, education and communication among prevention workers to better equip them to improve coordination of efforts and raise the level of evidence-based practice in Canada.

The Knowledge Exchange network will fill a need for a prevention hub that will promote communications and collaboration amongst those who work in youth substance abuse prevention, as well as access to existing resources, tools and knowledge on prevention from a broad range of partners. A specific component of the network will be to share information on new and emerging substances such as "designer drugs" or "legal highs" to promote proactive responses by health care providers and prevention workers.

  • Implementation and Uptake of the Canadian Standards for Youth Substance Abuse Prevention

CCSA will focus on implementation and uptake of these Canadian Standards to help align prevention investments across Canada with evidence-based best practices. CCSA will work to improve the accessibility and usability of the standards, expand use of the standards to community and family settings, and focus on increasing the capacity of prevention workers to evaluate prevention programs.

  • Development of Skills and Abilities for the Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Workforce

To address youth's extensive and specialized needs most effectively, CCSA will develop skills and abilities specifically for those working in youth substance abuse prevention. These competencies will be used to increase the skill sets of prevention workers with a goal of improving the consistency and quality of prevention services in Canada.

These will be developed, pilot-tested and promoted to academic institutions for inclusion in curriculum, and promoted to employers for inclusion in professional development.

  • Strength-building Interventions to Build Resilience in Youth: Sport and Recreational Activities

CCSA will continue to build new and expand on existing partnerships and develop knowledge on the linkages between youth substance use and sport and recreation. These activities will contribute to how the prevention, sport and recreation fields can use sport to increase protective factors against substance abuse.

  • Marijuana and Other Illicit Substances

Marijuana remains the most abused illicit substance, and Canadian youth consumption is high compared to other countries. Youth receive mixed messages about marijuana, and tend to underestimate the risks. Studies have shown that youth perceive driving after using marijuana to be safer than drinking and driving. In response to this, CCSA will target issues related to substance use and the brain, and drug-impaired driving. Activities will include:

  • reviewing research on marijuana use during adolescence and the effects on the developing brain;

  • developing resources and educating parents and prevention workers to educate them on the impact of youth marijuana use on the developing brain;

  • developing content on drug-impaired driving for new drivers; and identifying a model strategy for rural communities to reduce drug-impaired driving.

Contact Information

  • Michael Bolkenius
    Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
    Federal Minister of Health
    (613) 957-0200

    Health Canada
    Media Relations
    (613) 957-2983

    Public Inquiries:
    (613) 957-2991
    1-866 225-0709