The Government of Canada is pleased to recognize the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. The day provides an opportunity to renew our commitment to taking action against illicit drugs and the harms they cause individuals, families and communities.
In October 2007, the Government launched the National Anti-Drug Strategy. Through the Strategy, we are contributing to the health and safety of Canadians by focusing on prevention, treatment and enforcement efforts. Together, these three priority areas form an approach that is both tough on the producers and distributors of illicit drugs and compassionate to those who are addicted.
The Government of Canada has worked with various levels of government, community groups, non-government organizations and international partners in implementing the National Anti-Drug Strategy. As a result, significant investments have been initiated in support of prevention, treatment and enforcement efforts.
These investments include funding in support of health promotion and prevention projects aimed at reducing illicit drug use among young people; funding for community-based projects and services designed to support the treatment of youth in the justice system; and funding for new treatment initiatives aimed at helping people living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside who have complex mental health and addiction issues, including funding specifically targeted at Aboriginal populations..
The Government of Canada is also taking concrete steps to address crime associated with illicit drugs. In addition to funding provided through the Strategy for the RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency, the Government re-introduced legislation to provide mandatory minimum jail time for serious drug crimes (Bill C-15). Monitoring and investigative measures are also being enhanced to combat marijuana grow and synthetic drug production and distribution operations and prevent the diversion of precursor chemicals for illicit use in the production of synthetic drugs.
Recognizing that illegal drugs fuel activities of gangs and organized crime, we have also brought forward legislation, recently passed by Parliament that targets gang murders and drive-by shootings, and enhances offences for assaults against police (Bill C-14). This is in addition to legislation to tackle property theft, including the serious crimes of auto theft and trafficking in property that is obtained by crime (Bill C-26).
International progress has also been made. The Government of Canada was a key participant at the fifty-second session of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna in March 2009 during which 130 governments mapped out the future of international drug control policy. The Commission concluded with the adoption of a new Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation. The Government of Canada has also been a key contributor in drug policy in the Americas and will continue work with the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) as they review their Hemispheric Anti-Drug Strategy and Plan of Action over the coming year.
Addressing the issues associated with illicit drugs requires coordinated efforts, both domestically and internationally. We look forward to working with all of our partners as we continue to implement the National Anti-Drug Strategy in order to ensure the health and safety of all of our neighborhoods and communities.