Illicit Drugs

Public Safety Canada and Portfolio Agencies including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Correctional Service Canada (CSC), Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the National Parole Board (NPB) are working in close collaboration with Health Canada, the Department of Justice and key stakeholders to tackle illicit drug issues. Public Safety Canada also continues to work in partnership with its provincial, territorial and municipal law enforcement counterparts to reduce the supply of, and demand for, illicit drugs.

New: Buying Cannabis Online – What You Need To Know

If you choose to purchase cannabis online, there are several things to look out for to ensure that you are protecting yourself, keeping your financial information secure, and that you are buying your product from legal sources.

Drug Stigma Awareness Training Module

Public Safety Canada has partnered with the Canadian Police Knowledge Network and the Canadian Centre for Substance Use and Addiction to develop a Drug Stigma Awareness Training Module. The development of the online module was funded through Budget 2018 and is being offered free of charge to Canadian law enforcement personnel until 2022.

Police often encounter individuals with significant substance use disorders or co-occurring mental health issues who may be in crisis or at risk of harming themselves or others. Understanding the impacts of substance use stigmas and adopting approaches that reduce the stigma can help ensure more positive outcomes following interactions with law enforcement.

This course provides law enforcement personnel with tools and reference material to support their interactions with people who use substances.

National Anti-Drug Strategy

In 2007, the Government of Canada implemented a comprehensive National Anti-Drug Strategy, led by Justice Canada, to reduce the supply of and demand for illicit drugs with an emphasis on dissuading young people from using drugs. The Strategy focuses on three priority areas: combating illicit drug production and distribution operations; preventing illicit drug use and decreasing the impacts of drug use; and, treating and rehabilitating those with illicit drug dependencies. Increased enforcement activities under the Strategy have proactively targeted organized crime involvement in illicit drug production and distribution operations, such as marihuana grow operations and clandestine laboratories. It has also enhanced the capacity of the criminal justice system to investigate, interdict and prosecute offenders. The National Anti-Drug Strategy received $232 million from Budget 2007.

The National Anti-Drug Strategy is complemented by other strategies led by Public Safety Canada, in particular the National Crime Prevention Strategy that focuses on reducing those factors, including illicit drug use, that place certain populations of children and youth at risk and the Youth Gang Strategy that focuses on preventing children and youth from joining gangs, and supporting the exiting of those in gangs. The National Crime Prevention Strategy received an additional $30 million from Budget 2008.

The Enforcement Action Plan, led by Public Safety Canada, bolsters law enforcement efforts to investigate and prosecute drug crimes.  It will increase law enforcement's capacity to combat marihuana grow operations and synthetic drug production and distribution operations.  The Government of Canada has committed approximately $102 million from the National Anti-Drug Strategy funding to implement the Enforcement Action Plan.  

The Enforcement Action Plan will:

On August 25, 2009, the Government of Canada announced the launch of the Synthetic Drug Initiative, under the auspices of the National Anti-Drug Strategy. The Synthetic Drug Initiative, the first Canadian drug strategy to specifically focus on a single class of drugs, is an RCMP-led program designed to eliminate the production and distribution of illegal synthetic drugs in Canada, and reduce the overall influence of organized crime on drug trafficking in Canada.  The Synthetic Drug Initiative targets the illicit synthetic drug industry on three fronts; enforcement, deterrence and prevention.  It also aims to inhibit the diversion of precursor chemicals from foreign and domestic sources.

National Framework for Action

The National Framework for Action to Reduce the Harms Associated with Alcohol and Other Drugs and Substances links federal, provincial, territorial, municipal and community initiatives to common principles, goals and priorities. Public Safety Canada is involved in the National Framework for Action, providing a policy expertise and coordinating role between the health, law enforcement, policing and correctional communities.

International Cooperation

Through successful binational fora, such as the Cross Border Crime Forum, the United States and Canada have increased intelligence-sharing and joint training opportunities for law enforcement which has resulted in greater success in seizing drugs crossing the U.S.-Canada border and in apprehending those that traffic them. Further demonstrating this shared commitment to the fight against illicit drugs, our two countries have published a joint Border Drug Threat Assessment Report which highlights our shared success and challenges in combating the cross border movement of illicit drugs.

International Sources

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