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Health Concerns

The Drug Strategy Community Initiatives Fund (DSCIF) - At a Glance

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About the Fund

Illicit drug use is a serious concern for all Canadians. In the 2007 Federal Budget, the Government of Canada announced the Next link will take you to another Web site National Anti-Drug Strategy (NADS) with a goal of improving the health, safety and security of Canadians by addressing both the demand for and supply of illicit drugs in Canada. Building on existing drug-related initiatives, NADS enhances collaboration and strong working partnerships between federal, provincial and territorial governments, non-government organizations and communities.

The government supports community-level action through Health Canada's Drug Strategy Community Initiatives Fund (DSCIF). DSCIF is an on-going contribution program established in 2004 with an annual budget of $9.6 million. The DSCIF contributes to reducing illicit drug use among youth aged 10 to 24. DSCIF facilitates the development of local, provincial, territorial, national and community-based solutions for illicit drug use among youth.

Since the announcement of NADS, the DSCIF has issued two Calls for Proposals (CFP) and has signed 103 multi-year contribution agreements across Canada representing approximately $40M in investments. For the current Call for Proposals, a rigorous assessment process will be used to fund a select number of evidenced-based, multi-year, health promotion and prevention projects that will ultimately provide Canadians with information and tools to make healthy life choices.

2014 Call for Proposals

Prescription Drug Abuse: Reducing Prescriptions for Opioids

Abuse of pharmaceutical drugs has emerged as a leading health and safety issue in Canada, marked by steep increases in rates of consumption, addiction, and death due to overdose. For example, the 2012 Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey shows that Canadian consumption of prescribed opioid drugs has risen by over 200% since 2000. Prescription drugs are now the third most commonly abused substance among Canadian youth, after alcohol and marijuana. Canadians do not have a strong understanding of the risks and dangers associated with prescription drugs.

Prescription drug abuse is damaging to Canadian families and communities. Among the most commonly abused prescription drugs are opioids such as oxycodone, fentanyl and morphine. As part of the Government's comprehensive approach to addressing prescription drug abuse, Health Canada is consulting on proposed regulations that would require that drugs at high risk for abuse, like controlled-release oxycodone, have tamper-resistant properties before they can be sold in Canada. But, requiring tamper-resistant formulations of drugs is only one component of the comprehensive approach required to effectively tackle prescription drug abuse. One area in particular that has been identified for improvement is prescriber practices. Improved prescriber education will support appropriate prescriber practices.

Under the Drug Strategy Community Initiatives Fund (DSCIF), Health Canada is issuing this Call for Proposals to improve prescriber education through the development of guidelines, training and tools. The proposal can address one or more of the following classes of prescription drugs: opiates/opioids, tranquillizers/sedatives and stimulants.

We have identified two priority areas:

  • Enhancing existing guidelines, training, tools - Currently some guidelines and training exist for prescribers that address safe prescribing practices for some drugs subject to abuse. What needs to be done to ensure that these are followed? What is needed by prescribers to enhance uptake and adherence to appropriate prescribing practices? Activities that could be supported in this area include developing tools to improve the uptake, monitoring and evaluation of existing guidelines and training.
  • Developing new practices guidelines, training and tools - Are new prescribing guidelines needed for particular prescription drugs? Do we need specialized and/or mandatory training for prescribers? Activities that could be supported in this area include reviewing research and other literature to develop new approaches to appropriate prescribing, developing curricula, tools and/or mechanisms to ensure the uptake, monitoring, and evaluation of the new guidelines.

Proposals are expected to be national in scope involving a broad range of national and jurisdictional stakeholders who can represent the interests of all regions of Canada. Proposals should demonstrate partnerships, including support from the appropriate provincial/territorial stakeholders, to ensure appropriate uptake and implementation.

Applicants should consider the following questions, when developing their proposal.

  • What mechanism will your organization use to share or adopt appropriate prescribing practices?
  • How will your organization ensure implementation of guidelines?
  • What will be the role, if any, of your organization in training?
  • If your organization has a corresponding provincial/territorial (P/T) organization, what will you do to engage them?
  • What will be the nature and extent of your knowledge exchange activities?
  • How will the effectiveness of the guidelines, training and/or tools be evaluated?
  • How will you consider specific patient needs and behaviours (e.g. men, women, children, youth, seniors, First Nations)?

Approved proposals will be funded up to a maximum of $250,000 per year, depending on the scope of activities being undertaken. The total amount available for this Call for Proposals is $3.6M until March 31, 2017.

To receive the application package, contact the DSCIF office by emailing

If you wish to submit an application, please consult the Guide for Applicants and complete the following elements:

  • Application for Funding
  • Budget Templates (Appendix A1 and A2)

All proposals must be received no later than 4:00 p.m. EDT on August 29, 2014 by email to Faxed applications will not be accepted. A complete application includes a signed and dated electronic copy of the proposal Application Form including all attachments (e.g. budget templates, letters of partnership/support, and any other related documents).

Questions about this Call for Proposals should be directed by email to the above email address.

Please note: Health Canada is under no obligation to enter into a funding agreement as a result of this Call for Proposals.