Ontario Newsroom

Ontario Helping Reduce Abuse of Prescription Drugs

Archived News Release

Ontario Helping Reduce Abuse of Prescription Drugs

McGuinty Government Taking Strong Action to Protect Ontario Families

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Ontario is taking further action to reduce the abuse of prescription narcotics and controlled substance medications across the province.

A new narcotics monitoring system will track all prescription narcotics and other controlled substance medications dispensed in Ontario.  

The monitoring system will help ensure appropriate prescribing, dispensing and use of narcotics by issuing an alert to the pharmacy in real time when cases of double-doctoring (the same prescription being prescribed by more than one doctor) or multiple pharmacy visits are detected. The information collected also allows for the development of strategies to better protect patients and ensure the appropriate prescribing and use of narcotics. 

Since November 2011, Ontarians have been required to show identification to their doctor, dentist, and in some cases their pharmacist, in order to receive a prescription narcotic or other controlled drug. Pharmacies are now electronically collecting and submitting this information through the narcotics monitoring system so the province can securely monitor the prescribing and dispensing of narcotics to Ontarians.

As part of the Narcotics Strategy, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has also been working closely with the Expert Working Group on Narcotic Addiction, health care partners and community leaders to ensure that Ontarians addicted to opioids such as OxyContin receive the care and support they need.

Promoting the appropriate dispensing and use of narcotic substances is part of the Action Plan for Health Care's priority of keeping Ontario families healthy.

Quick Facts

  • The Narcotics Safety and Awareness Act, 2010 came into force on Nov.1, 2011.
  • Since 2003, Ontario has increased funding for addiction programs by almost 50 per cent.
  • The narcotics monitoring system is being used by 90 per cent of Ontario pharmacies, with the rest coming online in the coming days.
  • All personal information collected by the Narcotics Monitoring System will remain confidential and secure.

Background Information

Additional Resources


Deb Matthews

“Prescription narcotic abuse has destroyed the lives of too many Ontarians. By monitoring the prescribing and dispensing of narcotics, we can track and reduce the misuse and unlawful activities surrounding them. This will ensure that people who truly need these medications to manage pain continue to have safe access to them.”

Deb Matthews

Minister of Health and Long Term Care

Media Contacts



Government Health and Wellness