Home > First do no harm: Responding to Canada’s prescription drug crisis.

National Advisory Committee on Prescription Drug Use. [Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse] (2013) First do no harm: Responding to Canada’s prescription drug crisis. Ottawa: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. 88 p.

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Certain prescription drugs, like opioids, stimulants, sedatives and tranquilizers1 are associated with serious harms such as addiction, overdose and death. These drugs can have a devastating impact on people’s lives and their families, as well as place a significant burden on our healthcare, social services and public safety systems.

The recommendations were developed around five streams of action: Prevention, Education, Treatment, Monitoring and Surveillance, and Enforcement. In addition to the five streams, three other areas cut across all streams and are important to this work: legislation and regulations, research, and evaluation and performance measurement. The strategy demonstrates the linkages among the recommendations and across sectors.11 The recommendations aim to:
• Prevent prescription drug-related harms to individuals, families and communities;
• Educate and empower the public and promote healthy and safe communities;
• Promote appropriate prescribing and dispensing practices among healthcare practitioners;
• Increase timely, equitable access to a range of effective treatment options throughout the continuum of pain and addictions treatment;
• Identify effective, evidence-informed practices and policies and build upon them;
• Develop a standardized pan-Canadian surveillance system to improve our understanding of the nature and extent of the harms associated with prescription drugs in Canada;
• Establish prescription monitoring programs in each province and territory to share information about prescribing and dispensing practices across disciplines and jurisdictions on a timely basis and take timely action;
• Ensure that law enforcement has adequate tools, training and resources to address the diversion of prescription drugs;
• Engage industry, governments, regulatory bodies and others with a stake in the issue to join forces, commit to specific recommendations, leverage existing resources and strengthen system capacity to address the issue;
• Develop or clarify legislation and regulations to reduce barriers to effective treatment and prevent harms;
• Conduct research to address knowledge gaps and promote strategies to deal with this important issue;
• Engage industry in concrete, responsible actions that promote patient safety, improved patient outcomes and risk mitigation; and
• Provide a contextual lens to First Nations, geographically remote, isolated and rural populations.


Item Type:Evidence resource
Publication Type:Report
Drug Type:Prescription/Over the counter
Intervention Type:AOD prevention, AOD disorder harm reduction
Source:Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
Date:March 2013
Pages:88 p.
Publisher:Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
Corporate Creators:National Advisory Committee on Prescription Drug Use
Place of Publication:Ottawa
EndNote:View
Accession Number:HRB (Electronic Only)
Related URLs:
Subjects:MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Programme planning, implementation, and evaluation > Programme planning (strategy)
E Concepts in biomedical areas > Substance by legal status > Prescription drug (medicine / medication)
MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Policy > Policy on substance use
VA Geographic area > Canada

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