Health Canada plans to hinder abuse of controlled-release prescription narcotics by modifying the labels of the opioids in question to be used for those suffering with severe pain only, according to Federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose at the 147th Canadian Medical Association general council meeting in Ottawa.
Canada is second to the United States in per capita use of prescription opioids. In a 2012 Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey, over 400,000 Canadians admitted to abusing prescription drugs including opioids, stimulants and tranquilizers and sedatives. According to Ambrose, the yearly rate of opioid-related deaths grew by a whopping 242 per cent between 1991 and 2010.
“Quite frankly, these numbers are frightening, unacceptable and the reason why our government is taking action,” Ambrose told Postmedia News. “We must develop practical solutions that will prevent [prescription drug] abuse while keeping medications available for patients who really need them.”