February 12, 2004
(Health and Community Services)

Interim report confirms growing abuse of OxyContin

The initial findings of the Provincial Task Force on the Abuse of OxyContin confirm growing use and abuse of OxyContin in the province and increased accessibility to the drug by youth and young adults.

Elizabeth Marshall, Minister of Health and Community Services,released the Interim Report today.

"The task force has confirmed our belief that OxyContin abuse in our province is a growing problem we must continue to address," said Minister Marshall. "The provincial government supports the reportís short-term recommendations on how our province can immediately act on this issue while the task force continues to identify and develop long-term strategies."

Short-term recommendations outlined in the report include:

  • A continuation and expansion of educational awareness campaigns for youth, the general public and health professionals;
  • The implementation of tamper-resistant prescription pads for narcotic prescriptions;
  • Continued accessibility to in-province addictions treatment while ensuring a smooth process for youth and adults who require out-of-province care.

"The abuse of OxyContin is a serious issue, and the work of the task force to date has been focused on identifying trends so that we may identify and develop effective solutions," says Beverley Clarke, chair of the task force.

Ms.Clarke added that a key part of work has been gathering information and documenting the experiences of a variety of professionals and interested parties in the community. The task force will be accepting submissions from any individuals and agencies who wish to share their perspectives on this issue.

The task force will continue to work on implementing the recommendations outlined in their interim report. The final report, expected March 31, 2004, will address long term issues including further information on the nature and extent of the problem, education and prevention, detoxification, treatment and harm reduction.

On December 15, 2003, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced the establishment of a task force to assess the extent of the abuse of Oxycontin in the province and develop a comprehensive plan to deal with the issue. The task force includes representatives from the justice, education and health and community services sectors. An interim report was requested for early 2004 with a final report due the end of March 2004.

Copies of the Interim Report are available through the Department of Health and Community Services or on-line at .

Media contact :
          Carolyn Chaplin, Communications, Health and Community Services, (709) 729-1377
          Martha Muzychka, Communications, Health and Community Services St. Johnís, 

2004 02 12                                        11:00 a.m.

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