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Government of Canada Works with Nunavut to Help Prevent Young People from Taking Illicit Drugs

March 16, 2011
For immediate release

Factsheet: Funding for two projects in Nunavut under the Drug Treatment Funding Program and the Drug Strategy Community Initiatives Fund

Iqaluit, Nunavut – The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, announced today funding support under the National Anti-Drug Strategy for two projects that will help prevent young people in Nunavut including Whale Cove, Kugluktuk, Rankin Inlet, and Clyde River from taking illicit drugs and treat those already using drugs.”The Government of Canada is proud to be working with provinces, territories and communities across the country to help prevent and treat illicit drug use among youth,” said Minister Aglukkaq. “These two projects will provide these Northern communities with the tools they need to educate young people about the negative consequences of taking drugs.”

The main purpose of the first project, Substance Use Youth Outreach/Counsellors in Three Communities in Nunavut will be to train youth outreach workers to address addiction problems among at-risk youth between the ages of 12-24. These at-risk youth include pregnant women, youth in the foster care system and youth who have dropped out of school. In addition, youth-friendly pamphlets as well as strategies to address illicit drug use will be developed and distributed to interested communities. The Nunavut Department of Health and Social Services is receiving more than $1.6 million over three years in financial support from the Government of Canada for this project.

“It’s very good to be working with the federal government on this project. This initiative is a critical step for Nunavut to reduce drug abuse among the youth of Nunavut,” said Nunavut Health and Social Services Minister Tagak Curley.

“It’s a sad fact that so many young Nunavummiut use and abuse alcohol and illegal drugs. We often say that young people are our future, but what kind of future can they have if they are already addicts by the time they become adults? These youth outreach counsellors will be able to work with at-risk youth through education, and by connecting them with the services they need to help them stay away from drugs and drug abuse,” he added.

The second project, called Whale Cove Youth Engagement Program is educating and informing youth about the negative health and social effects of illicit drug use, while at the same time highlighting healthy lifestyle choices. Activities and workshops such as hip hop dancing are helping to promote healthy behaviours among youth. This project will help create a supportive environment that encourages resiliency and coping skills to avoid engaging in illicit drug use. Education and culture are key components of this project and as such, traditional Inuit teachings are being woven into the framework of this project’s anti-drug messaging, through presentations by Elders. This project is being complemented by information seminars by the RCMP and the Government of Nunavut’s Health and Social Services. The Hamlet of Whale Cove community is receiving approximately $240,000 in federal funding for this project.

“This funding allows us to engage youth in meaningful activities to help prevent illicit drug use in our community,” said Eloise Noble, Community Economic Development Officer, Whale Cove.

These initiatives support the Government of Canada’s National Anti-Drug Strategy, which was announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in October 2007.

These two projects are being supported by two funding programs under the National Anti-Drug Strategy: the Drug Treatment Funding Program and the Drug Strategy Community Initiatives Fund. The Drug Treatment Funding Program supports projects that aim to improve substance abuse treatment systems, as well as those that will increase the availability of drug treatment services to at-risk youth. The Drug Strategy Community Initiatives Fund provides financial support for health promotion and prevention projects at the national, provincial, territorial and local levels. It addresses a wide range of illicit drug use issues, especially among vulnerable populations such as youth.

Please visit the National Anti-Drug Strategy website for more information


Media Enquiries:
Health Canada
(613) 957-2983

Jenny Van Alstyne
Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Federal Minister of Health
(613) 957-0200

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