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Government of Canada Reaches Out to First Nations and Inuit Communities as Part of Anti-Drug Strategy

May 8, 2008
For immediate release

OTTAWA, ON – The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Health, the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, and the Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced federal funding of $30.5 million over five years, under the National Anti-Drug Strategy, to bolster services across Canada that will help First Nations and Inuit who suffer from drug addictions.”A key commitment in our Government’s National Anti-Drug Strategy is to treat those with illicit drug dependencies, and today’s announcement reflects this promise,” said Minister Clement. “With this funding, more First Nations and Inuit across the country will be able to access treatment services, and the services will be better than ever to help them overcome drug addictions. In fact, we estimate that this new investment will increase our ability to serve more people who need help by up to 3,000 people every year.”

– Increase service effectiveness – by aligning services with emerging needs and the best evidence available;
– Serve more people – through new investments in outreach, outpatient and innovative approaches such as mental wellness teams; and
– Improve service quality – by achieving national and international standards through accredited centres, certified counsellors, and modern facilities.

“We all know the devastating impact that drug addiction can have on individuals and families, so I am pleased that our government will be able to make a difference in the lives of those who are suffering in First Nations and Inuit communities,” said Minister Strahl.

“This announcement is in keeping with this Government’s approach to drugs, which is to get tough on drug crimes while showing compassion for drug addicts,” said Minister Nicholson. “Drug treatment helps break the vicious cycle of drug addiction that can destroy families and lead to serious crime.”

This new funding will enhance addiction treatment services that the Government of Canada currently funds through Health Canada’s National Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program and the Youth Solvent Abuse Program. It will result in improved access to drug abuse treatment for First Nations and Inuit youth and their families.

This investment is in addition to the $111 million over five years that the Government of Canada announced on April 28, for provinces and territories under the Drug Treatment Funding Program of the National Anti-Drug Strategy, to fund critical drug treatment initiatives for young people at risk as well as strengthen treatment systems.

As announced by Prime Minister Harper on October 4, 2007, the National Anti-Drug Strategy is a collaborative effort involving Health Canada, Public Safety Canada and the Department of Justice and includes three action plans: preventing illicit drug use; treating those with illicit drug dependencies; and combating the production and distribution of illicit drugs.

For more information about the Government of Canada’s National Anti-Drug Strategy, please visit the National Anti-Drug Strategy Web Site



Media Enquiries:
Health Canada
(613) 957-2983

Laryssa Waler
Office of the Honourable Tony Clement
Federal Minister of Health
(613) 957-0200

Public Enquiries:
Health Canada
(613) 957-2991
1-866 225-0709

Josée Bellemare
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Chuck Strahl
(819) 997-0002

Media Relations
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
(819) 953-1160