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Canadian Pharmacists Association
Canadian Pharmacists Association
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CPhA urges Canada's Premiers to put opioid crisis front and centre at Council of the Federation meeting


July 14, 2017 (Ottawa): As provincial and territorial premiers meet next week in Edmonton at the Council of the Federation summer meeting, the Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) urges them to put Canada’s opioid crisis front and centre on the agenda.

Deaths due to opioid use continue at a disturbing rate. Last year there were more than 2,400 deaths in Canada, and British Columbia alone is on pace for over 1,400 deaths this year.

“The pharmacy community in Canada has been heavily impacted by the opioid crisis that continues to expand across the country. Pharmacists are on the front lines, and often see their patients slipping into dangerous use of opioids. They are also a daily touchpoint for patients who are managing their addictions,” said Alistair Bursey, frontline pharmacist and CPhA Chair.

CPhA is calling for a multi-pronged approach that addresses the root causes of opioid abuse or misuse, ensures appropriate prescribing, and supports harm reduction strategies for those struggling with dependency, including access to overdose and addiction treatments, such as methadone, suboxone, and naloxone.

“Access to life saving drugs, such as naloxone, is still uneven across the country. While naloxone is freely available in some provinces, access is restricted in many parts of Canada. Anyone who feels that they might need it, either for themselves or for their loved ones, should be able to pick it up for free at a local health centre and community pharmacy,” added Bursey.

CPhA is committed to working collaboratively with governments, regulatory authorities, law enforcement agencies, industry and health care professionals to ensure that the right tools and systems are in place to support efforts to address opioid misuse and abuse.

Background/Related links:

In June 2017, CPhA hosted a pharmacy summit to discuss the opioid crisis and identify opportunities for pharmacy to support the fight against opioid abuse and misuse. While many areas were identified spanning the whole spectrum of opioid abuse (from prevention to treatment), it was clear that one area for immediate attention is harmonizing access to naloxone across the country.

About the Canadian Pharmacists Association

The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) is the uniting national voice of pharmacy and the pharmacist profession in Canada. As pharmacists undertake an enhanced role in the delivery of health care services, CPhA ensures that the profession is recognized as a national leader in health care, influencing the policies, programs, budgets and initiatives affecting the profession and the health of Canadians. More information is available at www.pharmacists.ca  

For more information, please contact:

Gabrielle Berard
Policy and Research Manager