Canada's new federal 'National Anti-Drug Strategy': an informal audit of reported funding allocation

Kora Debeck, Evan Wood, Julio Montaner, Thomas Kerr
International Journal on Drug Policy 2009, 20 (2): 188-91

BACKGROUND: While there is mounting international acceptance of harm reduction approaches and growing support for policies that balance enforcement with more health-focused interventions, in many settings these developments are not reflected in policy. In October 2007, the Canadian federal government launched a new $64 million dollar 'National Anti-Drug Strategy' in which two-thirds of the new monies was reportedly directed towards drug prevention and treatment initiatives.

METHODS: However, contrary to the impression left by a host of federal politicians, including the Prime Minister, that this new strategy was investing significantly in drug prevention and drug treatment, this analysis finds that when base funding is considered additional monies provided through the new federal National Anti-Drug Strategy only marginally shifts the allocation of funds within each category.

RESULTS: Specifically, law enforcement initiatives continue to receive the overwhelming majority of drug strategy funding (70%) while prevention (4%), treatment (17%) and harm reduction (2%) combined continue to receive less than a quarter of the overall funding.

CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that the Canadian government is failing to invest resources in evidence-based drug policies.

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