Drug Utilization Prevention and Promotion (DUPP)

Since 2006, the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB) worked towards developing a prescription drugs abuse control and prevention strategy, using an approach that is appropriate for First Nations and Inuit communities.  

The preferred course of action was to provide First Nations communities from various regions across Canada with the opportunity to develop a pilot project. The objective of a pilot project was to increase awareness and understanding of the issues and trends related to prescribed psychotropic drugs within the communities.  

Of particular note is that this problem is not specific to First Nations communities, but is found worldwide as stated in the International Narcotics Control Board’s official report on March 1, 2007. The report states that the use of prescription drugs is beginning to exceed the use of illicit drugs.

The purpose of increasing awareness and knowledge was to develop best practices and promotional material to reduce the prevalence rates and frequency of prescription drugs abuse as well as its negative impacts.

For the “Quebec” region, the FNIHB mandated the FNQLHSSC to select and assist a community. Telephones calls were made to health directors and a consultation was held with all interested communities. Following this, an advisory committee chose Timiskaming to develop and implement a pilot project which would meet the stated purpose.

After identifying the needs, available resources and various means to reach the members of the community, objectives were set forth in the selected community and a work plan was designed to achieve those objectives.

As their broad objective was to increase awareness and understanding among the members of the community about problems resulting from prescription drugs abuse, the preferred objectives to meet this priority were to raise awareness about the negative consequences related to the abuse of prescription drugs, and secondly, to promote traditional behaviours and self-esteem, which in turn would encourage a healthier lifestyle and habits as regards prescription drugs.

The project was officially launched in June 2008 and took place over a period of 18 months. A follow-up was done on a regular basis. An evaluation process was planned for the duration of the project, followed by a final evaluation.