Support for First Nation Efforts to Address Narcotics Addiction
The Trilateral First Nations Health Senior Officials Committee
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Ontario established the Trilateral First Nations Health Senior Officials Committee in partnership with the federal government and the Chiefs of Ontario. The purpose of the Trilateral Committee is to improve the co-ordination of federal and provincial health services for Ontario's First Nations, with the broader goal of improving the health status of First Nations people living on reserve.
The Trilateral Committee will be overseeing the implementation of a series of initiatives aligned with health priorities identified by the Chiefs of Ontario:
- Mental health and addictions, with a focus on prescription drug abuse
- Public health
- Diabetes prevention and management
- Data management
The Trilateral Committee recognizes the urgency in addressing prescription drug abuse and has identified mental health and addictions as its first priority.
Mental Health and Addictions Working Group
The Mental Health and Addictions Working Group of the Trilateral Committee has developed a work plan of immediate, short-term and medium-term activities to address prescription narcotics abuse in First Nations communities.
The Ontario government and Health Canada are providing resources totalling $3 million in 2012/13 to fund the staffing requirements of six Community Wellness Development Teams strategically placed across Ontario. Based in First Nations mental health and addictions treatment centres, the teams provide mental health and addictions expertise as well as planning support to First Nations communities seeking assistance with addressing prescription narcotic addiction.
Ontario government funding will enable five of these Community Wellness Development Teams to help communities on an ongoing basis to address prescription drug abuse and enable the use of telemedicine equipment to expand addiction treatment.
In total, the six Community Wellness Development Teams have been placed across the province, including two in the northwest region, one in the northeast region, one in central Ontario and two in the south.