Methamphetamine Report for Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers Responsible for Justice

July 2007

Executive Summary

The purpose of this paper is to examine the nature and extent of methamphetamine use across Canada and to provide recommendations to reduce its consumption, production, trafficking, and community impact. The paper is divided into five different sections, which highlight various governmental responsibilities and the history of methamphetamine use. It includes 25 recommendations addressing six different areas of government action: legislation, stakeholder collaboration, research, database development, program development, and resourcing.

Section I provides an overview of the Working Group created to address this problem. The mandate of the group is described, along with the tasks and responsibilities of its members.

Section II gives an overview of the historical and medical use of methamphetamine, including a detailed description of its current production and use. Existing legislation dealing with methamphetamine is described, along with the regulations to control the chemical precursors of methamphetamine production. Recent initiatives to address methamphetamine use in Canada are discussed, including regional collaborative efforts among the western provinces and federal government.

Section III provides greater insight into the recent trends of methamphetamine production, trafficking and use. Evidence of recent concerns is discussed, along with the impact of the drug on the criminal justice system, communities, and family members. An overview of production is provided, along with the current picture of clandestine laboratories in Canada.

Section IV outlines recommendations that are proposed to reduce supply and demand. Highlights include:

  • strategies to increase public awareness about the harm of the drug;
  • proposals for integrating treatment options within the criminal justice process;
  • options for ensuring precursors, whether in bulk form or other retail cold remedies, are controlled; and
  • changes to legislation at the municipal, provincial, territorial, and federal level that may assist in reducing the production of methamphetamine in Canada.

Section V concludes the report by providing an overview of the themes highlighted in the paper and the need to monitor the future trends of methamphetamine use.

Summary of Recommendations

Legislation

The Working Group recommends the following amendments to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA):

  • Establish a new offence prohibiting the possession of Class A precursors for the purpose of producing methamphetamine (Recommendation 14).
  • Establish a new offence prohibiting the production and trafficking of Class A precursors (Recommendation 15).
  • Establish a new offence prohibiting the possession of equipment, chemicals, and other materials for the purpose of producing methamphetamine (Recommendation 16).
  • Establish a new offence prohibiting the sale of equipment, chemicals, and other materials for the purpose of producing methamphetamine (Recommendation 17).
  • Amend section 10 of the CDSA to make an aggravating factor in sentencing the presence of children, or other dependent persons, when methamphetamine is being produced (Recommendation 18).
  • All provinces, territories, or local governments should evaluate the feasibility of legislative responses for sales, costs, and civic remedy associated with methamphetamine (Recommendation 22).

Collaborative Action

The Working Group recognizes that strong collaboration by various stakeholders is essential if there are to be any significant, enduring outcomes. This approach should:

  • Ensure that information campaigns directed at reducing methamphetamine use are consistent among all levels of government (Recommendation 1).
  • Enhance partnerships and program delivery between Justice and Public Safety Ministries and others that support promising and emerging intervention programs for youths (Recommendation 3).
  • Develop and support innovative approaches to addressing methamphetamine use and related problems in the community (Recommendation 4).
  • Develop common approaches among all levels of government controlling the access to and sale of single ingredient ephedrine or pseudoephedrine products (Recommendation 9)
  • Develop a national methamphetamine dismantling protocol to guide local jurisdictions in the proper authorizations required and safe shutdown of clandestine labs (Recommendation 23).
  • Establish appropriate national guidelines for the decontamination and remediation of clandestine laboratory sites and by-product chemical dumpsites (Recommendation 24).

Research

  • Identify best practices for the involuntary treatment of methamphetamine users across North America (Recommendation 5).
  • Research the viability and utility of committing adult offenders into involuntary methamphetamine treatment programs (Recommendation 6).
  • Reassess the requirement to further monitor the domestic sales and importation of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. This reassessment should cover the period since the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities(NAPRA) scheduling has been implemented and Heath Canada has completed its mapping exercise tracking movement of ephedrine into and throughout Canada (Recommendation 8).
  • Continue to monitor the implementation of Precursor Control Regulations (PCR) licensing amendments respecting law enforcement concerns for a two-year period to determine the effectiveness of the measures (Recommendation 10).
  • Encourage provinces to consider adopting “safer communities” or similar legislation as has been implemented in Saskatchewan and Manitoba (Recommendation 21a).
  • Encourage federal, provincial, territorial, and First Nations governments to work together to ensure that “safer communities” legislation can be applied or adopted on reserves (Recommendation 21b).
  • Support Health Canada ’s recent initiative to evaluate gaps in regulations, practices, and jurisdictional inconsistencies in the remediation and decontamination of land (Recommendation 22).
  • Determine whether the rescheduling of methamphetamine to Schedule I of the CDSA is resulting in harsher penalties for drug traffickers and users (Recommendation 25).

Database Development

  • Establish a drug resource website for law enforcement professionals, with a tracking system providing comprehensive information about clandestine methamphetamine labs, and with details on existing intervention strategies (Recommendation 7).
  • Examine the possibility of establishing a suspicious-transaction database to monitor the supply and sale of ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and other precursors. (Recommendation 11).

Program Development

  • Establish trained regional teams within the Canadian Border Service Agency to inspect and take samples from suspicious and potentially dangerous shipments of precursor chemicals (Recommendation 12).
  • Expand Health Canada ’s compliance program by hiring more officers to ensure uniform compliance and enforcement of the PCR within each region (Recommendation 13).
  • Establish new or maintain existing clandestine drug lab teams in all jurisdictions to ensure uniform national suppression efforts (Recommendation 19).
  • Develop national training standards and protocols for first responders to ensure consistency in approaches to protect first responders and the public from associated hazards (Recommendation 20).

Resources

Ensure appropriate levels of government support for information and prevention programs delivered by communities to address problems associated with the production, trafficking, and use of methamphetamine (Recommendation 2).

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