The following joint statement was released by the Governments of Canada and the United States of America on the meeting of the Canada-United States Joint Action Plan on Opioids Steering Committee.
Canada and the United States continue to face an ongoing crisis of opioid overdose deaths, fueled by a toxic illegal drug supply. This crisis is devastating and has taken a tragic toll on the families, loved ones and communities of all those lost. Canada and the United States continue to work closely together through the Joint Action Plan on Opioids (OAP) to find solutions to this shared challenge and help save lives.
Senior officials from both countries met in Ottawa to address substance use disorder and the opioid overdose crisis and discuss progress in the areas of law enforcement, border security and public health since the last meeting of the Steering Committee in May 2021. The governments also set priorities for the year ahead to disrupt and dismantle the trafficking of opioids, including illegal fentanyl, and expand access to public health strategies.
Key Milestones in 2022:
- Health: Published a joint white paper, Substance Use and Harms During COVID-19 and Approaches to Federal Surveillance and Response, that examines rapid and innovative approaches used by both countries to monitor substance use trends during the pandemic. The paper includes information on substance use harms and deaths in Canada and the United States, the impact of COVID-19 on the opioids crisis, and policy responses to address substance use from the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic to September 2022;
- Law Enforcement: Shared more than 275 samples of seized controlled substances since the OAP’s inception. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police shares such samples with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for supplemental analysis that provides additional insight into drug trafficking trends and routes; and,
- Border Security: Improved information sharing and collaboration between the Canada Border Services Agency and the Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations to target the trafficking of precursor chemicals used in the production of deadly synthetic opioids like illegal fentanyl;
- Postal Security: Continued implementation of the successful Canada-U.S. Postal Security Action Plan, including information sharing, high-level meetings, and joint training exercises to address the opioid overdose crisis.
The 2021 Roadmap for a Renewed Canada-U.S. Partnership, by Prime Minister Trudeau and President Biden, reaffirmed our commitment to work together to find effective approaches to shared challenges, including those related to substance use and drug trafficking.
In its third year, the OAP remains an effective bilateral mechanism to address the opioid overdose crisis in both countries, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the coming year, Canada and the United States will continue to build on these advancements and explore opportunities for further exchanges of important information, lessons learned, and ultimately continue collaboration to address substance-related harms in both countries.