In a response to Canada’s growing overdose crisis, the federal government is significantly broadening its approach to drug and substance use strategy. The aim of this expansion is twofold: to save more lives and to offer increased services to those groups that have been hit hardest by the rise in substance misuse.
Health Canada acknowledges that the context of drug abuse has shifted dramatically since the implementation of the strategy in 2016, with an increasingly toxic supply making the situation more dangerous. The agency has also pointed out the role the COVID-19 pandemic has played in highlighting the weaknesses in the government’s approach, thereby emphasizing the need for a more comprehensive and integrated response.
Among the strategy’s key priorities is growing financial support for community-based programs focused on prevention, treatment, and support. Another critical area of focus lies in supporting law enforcement. This involves training personnel to mitigate the stigma associated with substance misuse and plans to pilot an overdose monitoring tool.
In conjunction with these objectives, the government has declared an allocation of $21 million from the federal budget to support 54 harm reduction projects across the nation. This substantial investment signifies a direct and practical commitment to addressing this pervasive issue in Canada. The federal government seeks through its expanded initiatives, not only to address the symptoms of the crisis but also to proactively implement long-term solutions that deal with the root causes of the problem.