Statement from the Minister of Health on the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the World Drug Problem

April 20, 2016

OTTAWA – I am honoured to serve as the Head of the Canadian delegation to the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem. This meeting will give the international community a unique opportunity to come together and revisit our efforts to address a serious and ever changing global challenge – the world drug problem.

Drug use and drug-related crime are both significant public health and safety issues in Canada and abroad. They have wide-ranging impacts on individuals, families and communities at large. These complex issues require a comprehensive approach that balances support for the health and well-being of those affected by drug use and addiction with law enforcement.

The Government of Canada believes that to be effective, drug policy must be grounded in evidence and fully respect human rights while promoting shared responsibility. It requires collaborative action and a strong emphasis on public health that includes upstream prevention, compassionate treatment, harm reduction and support for recovery.

Canada views UNGASS 2016 as an opportunity to reflect on progress at home and around the world. It provides a venue for productive discussions on what is working and where we need to do better to meet the many new and continuing challenges posed by addiction, drug-related crime and the damage they cause.

The Canadian delegation to UNGASS includes representatives from numerous areas, including federal and provincial governments, First Nations, and civil society, who are working together on both the national and international fronts to address the world drug problem and bring their unique perspectives to the table. I am pleased to represent Canadians at this session and look forward to continued work with our international partners on the issue of drug policy moving forward.

The Honourable Jane Philpott, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Health

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Office of the Honourable Jane Philpott
Minister of Health

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