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Health Concerns

Controlled Substances and Precursor Chemicals

The diversion of controlled substances and precursor chemicals frequently used in the production of illegal drugs is a worldwide problem that requires a global solution. Health Canada is an active team player in the fight to control the illicit use of these controlled substances and precursor chemicals.

Health Canada's Role

  • Develop regulations for the import, export, production, distribution, possession and sale of controlled substances and precursor chemicals,
  • Administer legislation and activities related to controlled drugs and substances through the Office of Controlled Substances,
  • Work in collaboration with Canadian and international stakeholders to ensure that controlled substances and precursor chemicals are handled effectively and remain in legal distribution channels, and
  • Analyze, through the Drug Analysis Service, suspected illegal drugs that are seized by Canadian police forces (RCMP, provincial, regional and municipal) and Canada Customs.

What Are Controlled Substances?

A controlled substance is any type of drug that the federal government has categorized as having a higher-than-average potential for abuse or addiction. Such drugs are divided into categories based on their potential for abuse or addiction. Controlled substances range from illegal street drugs to prescription medications.

What Are Precursor Chemicals?

Precursor chemicals are chemicals that are essential to the production of a controlled substance. Precursor chemicals have a wide legitimate use in the production of consumer goods such as pharmaceuticals, fragrances, flavouring agents, petroleum products, fertilizers and paints. For example, ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, commonly used in cold and decongestant medicine, are precursor chemicals that are used to produce methamphetamine.

What Information Can You Find Here?

In this section, you can find regulatory documents, guidelines, forms, general and contact information. It also contains links for specific public and private sector stakeholders.