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Message from the Ministers of Justice, Health and Public Safety

National Addictions Awareness Week

November 19-25, 2012

Addictions to tobacco, alcohol and drugs can take tolls on not only those who suffer from addictions, but on society as a whole. We hope all Canadians use National Addictions Awareness Week as a time to learn more about addictions and what they can do to prevent them.

Smoking is at an all-time low in Canada, but we still have more work to do. Tobacco use is still the most significant cause of preventable disease, disability, and premature death. Our Government will continue working to preserve the gains made over the past 10 years and maintain the downward trend in smoking. Smokers can now find a Canada-wide quitline and web address on cigarette and little cigar packages that links them to provincial and territorial cessation support services. We will also focus our anti-smoking efforts for on-reserve First Nations and Inuit living in Inuit communities, who have the highest smoking rates in Canada.

Last year, we supported the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) in developing Canada's first-ever, pan-Canadian Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines. These guidelines will help health professionals across Canada provide consistent advice to their patients about alcohol consumption, and will allow Canadians to make informed decisions about drinking.

Our Government is also proud to support the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse's work in addressing prescription drug abuse.  The recommendations resulting from this important work will help improve the health and safety of all Canadians.

The Government of Canada's National Anti-Drug Strategy provides a comprehensive approach to drug prevention, treatment, and enforcement. Over the last five years, we have invested in various initiatives to prevent illicit drug use among young people, to treat those who have drug addictions, and to prevent the production and distribution of illicit drugs. The Strategy included a national youth drug prevention mass media campaign that increased awareness among young people and their parents about the dangers of experimenting with illicit drugs. The DrugsNot4Me web site, Facebook page, YouTube videos and innovative online tools continue to provide youth with information on the negative effects of drugs and how they can say no.  

Under the Strategy, we also made progress in improving access to quality addictions services in First Nations and Inuit communities. We recently completed a review of on-reserve prevention and treatment services, in partnership with First Nations, which resulted in a renewed framework for addictions services. Government of Canada investments support a network of 58 treatment centres, as well as community-based programs that provide drug- and alcohol-prevention services in more than 550 First Nations and Inuit communities across Canada. Funding is also provided for innovative projects that address drug addiction issues for young offenders.

The production and trafficking of illicit drugs are feeding the cycle of drug addiction and are putting the health and safety of Canadians at risk. Our Government is fulfilling its commitment to safeguard Canadians and their communities through the coming into force of the "targeting serious drug crime" component of the Safe Streets and Communities Act.  This legislation has created mandatory penalties for the production, trafficking, importing and exporting of drugs.

The RCMP has developed a national drug awareness video and teachers guide featuring well known personalities from across Canada providing advice on leading a drug free lifestyle and making healthy choices. This production entitled Canadian Champions will be launched during National Addictions Awareness Week in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This initiative fits well with Canada's National Anti-Drug Strategy and the RCMP Drugs and Organized Crime Awareness Services education continuum, serving to strengthen the youth message and supplementing already established programs like Drug Abuse Resistance Education and Aboriginal Shield.

During this important week, we encourage all Canadians to work toward the elimination of addiction to make Canada a healthier and safer place to live.

The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Minister of Health
Government of Canada

The Honourable Rob Nicholson
Minister of Justice
Government of Canada

The Honourable Vic Toews
Minister of Public Safety
Government of Canada

For more information on:

You Can Quit Smoking. We Can Help.


Next link will take you to another Web site DrugsNot4Me

Next link will take you to another Web site National Anti-Drug Strategy

Talking with your Teen about Drugs (a booklet for parents):
Next link will take you to another Web site Youth Drug Prevention for Parents

Substance Use and Treatment of Addictions (First Nations, Inuit and Aboriginal Health):