Ontario Newsroom

Helping Ontarians Overcome Prescription Narcotic Addiction

Archived News Release

Helping Ontarians Overcome Prescription Narcotic Addiction

McGuinty Government Strengthening Addiction Programs Across the Province

Ministry of Health

Ontario is increasing access to treatment for people addicted to opioids, including pregnant women and mothers.

The McGuinty government is making new investments in prescription narcotic addiction programs, including:

  • Opioid treatment programs as well as addiction treatment programs for pregnant women and mothers.
  • Community wellness development teams for Aboriginal communities, which are located within First Nations organizations and link First Nations communities to health care service providers in response to misuse of prescription drugs.
  • Expansion of monitoring in emergency rooms and public health units to help with early detection, ensuring better co-ordination of addiction and community mental health services.
  • Public education on the risks of opioids and available services.

These investments respond to recommendations made by the Expert Working Group on Narcotic Addiction, which released its final report today, and build on supports put in place earlier this year, including:

  • The narcotics monitoring system.
  • 130 new units of telemedicine equipment like videoconferencing that can be used for addiction treatment and counselling services in remote and rural areas.  This allows clients to access services close to home instead of travelling long distances.
  • More overdose prevention kits.
  • Advice for health care providers on how to identify and treat opioid addiction.

Helping Ontarians overcome addictions to prescription narcotics is part of the Action Plan for Health Care's priority of keeping Ontario healthy.

Quick Facts

  • Following the removal of OxyContin from the Canadian market in March 2012, the Expert Working Group on Narcotic Addiction was formed by the Minister of Health and Long-term Care to advise on how to lessen the effects of opioid addiction and strengthen the existing addictions treatment system in Ontario.
  • Approximately 50,000 people are addicted to narcotics in Ontario.
  • Since 2003, Ontario has increased funding for addiction programs by 58 per cent.
  • The number of Ontario babies born addicted to narcotics is now 4.3 per 1,000 births, above the national average of 3.8.
  • Three per cent of people prescribed opioids will develop an addiction.

Additional Resources


“Opioid misuse is a major public health concern in many Ontario communities. Today’s commitment will ensure that people who need help to overcome their addiction will have access to it, including pregnant women and mothers.”

Deb Matthews

Minister of Health and Long Term Care

“We welcome the recommendations of the Expert Working Group. Today’s investment strengthens the many programs already on the ground to ensure that our children and youth are given the best opportunity to grow healthy. Helping pregnant women and mothers helps our children get the best start at life.”

Eric Hoskins

Minister of Children and Youth Services

“Today’s announcement is a critical step in addressing narcotic drug abuse, an issue that has been identified as a priority by Aboriginal communities. With First Nations and Métis leadership, and the advice of the Expert Working Group, we look forward to expanding the programs that help build healthy communities.”

Kathleen Wynne

Minister of Aboriginal Affairs

“The government of Ontario is taking strategic steps in addressing addiction and opioid misuse in the province. By taking this type of holistic approach to a very complex issue, people trying to address their substance dependence can have hope that the services and supports in Ontario will better meet their needs.”

David Kelly

Chief Executive Officer, Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addiction Programs/Addictions Ontario

Media Contacts



Government Health and Wellness