Hon. John C. Munro (Minister of National Health and Welfare):
Mr. Speaker, as requested about two weeks ago I should like to make a statement with reference to drug abuses.
The programs being pursued by the Department of National Health and Welfare to deal with the problem of the use of hallucinogenic drugs by young people fall within two broad categories, educational programs and control programs. While the ideal forum for programs designed to inform young people as to the dangers inherent in the use of various hallucinogenic drugs is the schools, the availability of this forum to us is, of course, strictly limited by the fact of education being a matter within provincial jurisdiction. What we can do and are doing in this regard is making informational materials available for use by schools as well as by community organizations.
The department has purchased a number of copies of a movie, produced in the United States, called LSD: Insight or Insanity which it is making available to schools and other interested groups. As well, we have brought this film to the attention of the provincial departments of health and a number of these have ordered copies which they are also
making available within their respective provinces. A film called Marijuana has also been obtained, and additional prints are on order. As soon as these are received they will be made available to schools and community groups as well.
A number of publications dealing with LSD and marijuana have been produced by the department in recent months and a major pamphlet, designed for mass distribution, is in its final stages of production. This pamphlet will be provided to the provincial departments of health. The distribution of the pamphlet within the provinces will be in the hands of the respective provincial health departments and departments of education.
It is our intention to expand this informational program in every was possible. We believe the most effective control is an informed public. As well as control by way of education, however, the department is continually reassessing and updating its legislative controls as new hallucinogenic drugs come into use among young people. By order in council P.C. 1968-1736, schedule H of the Food and Drugs Act was amended last month by the addition of DET, DMT and STP. This amendment prohibits the sale of these substances, as well as LSD which was added to this schedule some time ago. Item 29 in the list of bills enumerated by the government house leader on September 12, "A bill to amend the Food and Drugs Act and the Narcotic Control Act and to make a consequential amendment to the Criminal Code", the omnibus health bill, is designed to further increase our capacity to control the use of hallucinogenic drugs by making possession of these drugs an offence.
The department is involved in chemical research in the field of hallucinogens through studies being conducted in its food and drug directorate. It is involved in support of sociological research being conducted in British Columbia under the department's health grants program, and has provided assistance in pharmacological research being undertaken in Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia. The subject of drug abuse among young people will be on the agenda of the federal-provincial health ministers' conference to be held early in November, and it is hoped that further
October 17, 1968
Control of Increased Narcotics Traffic proposals of both an informational and a control nature will come out of that meeting.
Because drug abuse is a problem which involves may different aspects and functions of the Department of National Health and Welfare, an intradepartmental committee has been established involving representatives of each of the branches of the department having a role to play in dealing with the problem. As well, we are in the process of establishing a special secretariat which will work with this intradepartmental committee in coordinating all our efforts in this area and developing plans for their expansion.
[DOT] (2:40 p.m.)