Disrupting illegal importation of precursor chemicals used to make fentanyl

eAwazLocal News

Ottawa – The overdose crisis, and the increasingly toxic illegal drug supply, continue to have devastating impacts on individuals, communities and families across Canada. This toxic drug supply is contaminated with illegally produced, highly potent opioids, such as fentanyl, with nearly 75% of accidental apparent opioid toxicity deaths in Canada since 2017 involving fentanyl or fentanyl-related substances. The Government of Canada is working with our departments and agencies to take action against these substances head on.

Today, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, announced regulatory changes that will come into effect on August 30, 2023, to schedule a group of chemicals, known as novel fentanyl precursors, as precursors under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA). These changes follow the temporary year-long Ministerial Order that was put in place to disrupt the illegal importation and distribution of these same chemicals. This measure will enable law enforcement to continue to take action against any illegal importation, distribution, and use of these precursor chemicals, which are used in the illegal production of fentanyl by illegal drug producers.

This action aligns with the renewed Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy, which includes increasing access to harm reduction, treatment and recovery, prevention, and enforcement – including aggressively dismantling criminal drug trafficking organizations.

Minister Bennett made this announcement ahead of her participation at the Trilateral North American Drug Dialogue Public Health Summit in Washington, DC., where she will discuss continued collaboration with the United States and Mexico to address the toxic drug and overdose crisis, the importance of trilateral and international cooperation to address the crisis in Canada and globally, and the growing public health and security challenges posed by synthetic drugs.

The Government of Canada will continue to support a full continuum of compassionate, evidence-based actions and innovative strategies to address the toxic drug and overdose crisis and save lives, including through: improving access to harm reduction services and treatment, funding awareness, prevention, and stigma reduction activities, supporting research and surveillance initiatives, and strengthening law enforcement capacity to address illegal drug production and trafficking.

“Every day, we lose more loved ones to the overdose crisis and the increasingly toxic illegal drug supply. We have to follow all four of the internationally recognized drug policy pillars, including prevention, harm reduction, treatment and law enforcement so that we can continue working together to address this crisis. By helping to disrupt the illegal production of fentanyl and fentanyl analogues, by enabling enforcement to take action against illegal importation, distribution, and use of these illegal substances, we will help to protect the health and safety of Canadians – and save lives.” – Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

“The safety and security of Canadians is our government’s top priority. Our work begins at the border, where we stop illegal drugs like fentanyl precursors from coming into Canada. I want to thank CBSA employees and law enforcement partners for their commitment and hard work to keep our communities safe.” – Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety