Canada faces a serious and growing opioid crisis. We see its consequences in the rates of addiction, overdoses, and deaths across the country. This is a complex health and social issue with devastating consequences for individuals, families, and communities.

The response to this crisis needs to be comprehensive, collaborative, compassionate and evidence-based.

On November 18, 2016, we heard a number of perspectives on this crisis: from people who use drugs, from families, healthcare providers, first responders, educators and researchers. Today, we have come together to identify specific actions to address this crisis and publicly commit to taking these actions.

This Joint Statement of Action to Address the Opioid Crisis reflects our combined commitment to act on this crisis. We have agreed to work within our respective areas of responsibility to improve prevention, treatment and harm reduction associated with problematic opioid use through timely, concrete actions that deliver clear results and we commit to reporting on our progress in delivering those results.

As Health Ministers, our focus today is on the important actions being taken by players in the health community. We recognize that this is just the beginning. Much work is already underway separately in the areas of law enforcement, corrections, education and elsewhere. We will invite leaders in these communities to join us as we build on the commitments made today.