Canada is in the midst of one of the most serious public health crises in our country’s history – the toxic and illegal drug and overdose crisis. No community has been left untouched. That’s why we are leveraging all the tools at our disposal to work towards an end to this national public health crisis—including prevention, harm reduction, treatment, recovery and enforcement.
Today, the Honourable Ya’ara Saks, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, announced more than $21 million in federal funding for 52 projects through Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP). With this funding, organizations will be able to increase access to much needed services for those who use drugs and help improve health outcomes for people who are at risk of experiencing substance-related harms.
Investing in programs like SUAP is a key part of the renewed Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy also released today. The renewed CDSS builds on the work, engagement and consultation since it was originally launched in 2016, including that of the Expert Task Force on Substance Use. The Government of Canada is using an integrated approach to address the overdose crisis and other substance use harms in Canada. Supporting community-based organizations across the country helps reduce stigma and meet the unique needs of the people in their communities where they are at, getting them the services and supports they need, when they need it.
The Government of Canada will continue to work with all levels of government, public health and public safety partners, social sectors, Indigenous communities, stakeholders, people with lived and living experience, and community organizations across the country to support a full range of services and improve health outcomes for all Canadians, save lives and work towards an end to this national public health crisis.
Since 2017, over $500 million has been committed through Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addiction Program for more than 380 projects.
Through SUAP, the Government of Canada provides funding to not-for-profit organizations, other levels of government, Indigenous communities, academia, and other groups for projects aiming to minimize substance use harms and improve health outcomes for Canadians. These community-led programs and projects leverage the expertise of people with lived and living experience with substance use, and/or are able to reach priority populations in Canada, such as low-income and low-education populations.
Through new investments announced in Budget 2023, the Government of Canada is also proposing over $359 million, over five years, to support a renewed Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy, which will continue to guide our work to protect the health and safety of Canadians. The 2023 call for proposals stems from new investments in Budget 2023 that provided $144 million to the Substance Use and Addictions Program.
The Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy (CDSS) is led by Health Canada and includes 15 federal departments and agencies. It covers a broad range of legal and illegal substances, including cannabis, alcohol, opioids and other substances that may result in harms. For more information on the approach and the foundational elements visit: canada.ca/drug-strategy.
Addiction is a treatable medical condition, not a choice—yet many people affected by addiction face stigma and feel shame. The language we use has a direct and deep impact on the people around us.