Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to speak today to Bill C-307, and about the great work that has been done by my colleague from Battle River—Crowfoot. As someone who has spent a great deal of time with young people as an educator for 34 years, I have seen the effects and the terrible things that happen because of drugs. I do not think there is anybody in this House who is unaffected by that same type of damage. When we know there is something out there that could possibly help, this is critical. With the opportunities that young people have when they get hold of drugs, and the partying and other stuff that ties into it, we realize that the damage hurts many families.
The intent of Bill C-307 is to enable the federal minister of health to require specific controlled substances or classes of controlled substances to have either abuse-deterrent formulations, ADFs, and/or tamper-resistant, TR, properties. This bill would make these pharmaceutical substances more difficult to abuse and would make it possible for Canada's health minister to take immediate action whenever Canadians are being hurt or killed by a specific drug. Bill C-307 would help keep Canadians safe when it is determined that a particularly deadly narcotic substance that is available in its current form is too dangerous and can too easily be abused. While Bill C-307 could apply to any substances under the two categories of drugs in the health legislation, the provisions of this bill may in fact be implemented on rare occasions.
We are led to believe that the Liberals will someday announce a package of measures that they think will help combat the scourge of drug abuse in Canada. We also know that the Liberals are supporting legalized marijuana. I will have a lot to say about that in the future, again as someone who has seen the serious damage to families and young people that has taken place, especially to developing brains. We can only hope that when adopting this measure in Bill C-307, at a time in the future when the Liberals announce their further policies on drug abuse, maybe they will have something they can tie in to that. I heard one speaker earlier talking about discussions where there were a number of recommendations. We have to look at some of the other damages that exist as well, to find out exactly what is taking place.
Again, abuse-deterrent and tamper-resistant technologies across the class of opioid medication is only one tool among many others that are there to combat prescription drug abuse. Bill C-307 would do something to prevent the ability to crush, snort, or ingest powerful narcotics that have been taken from pills, patches, or sprays prescribed by doctors. We hear disturbing things about some prescriptions and how they get into the hands of young people, and into the hands of older people as well. Sometimes the drugs are being sold because people would sooner be in pain and get money for their drugs. They know that there will be problems down the line. These are the kinds of abuses that we constantly see.
This kind of drug abuse becomes a gateway to other forms of abuse, including pill-popping and taking too many pills in order to get high at parties. It becomes like a Russian roulette as to what people will take. Abusing drugs that are available from doctors or pharmacies also leads to abuse of more dangerous illicit substances, as has been mentioned before, such as fentanyl, carfentanil, W-18, and U-47700, especially by young Canadians.
Passing Bill C-307 into law would result in tamper-resistant drugs being available in the Canadian market. However, these are only drugs that we discover are being easily and widely abused. They could be identified by the minister of health and taken off the shelves until they are manufactured with tamper-resistant or abuse-deterrent properties. I believe that people who are in the business of making sure that drugs are safely presented to Canadians would be able to deal with this and be more than pleased to help in protecting young people, and all people who seem to have gone off the rails in this particular area.
We have heard a great deal of rhetoric and slogans and we have heard the review of newspaper clippings by Liberal MPs who have spoken against Bill C-307, but we have not heard any better ideas than what is proposed in Bill C-307. We have not heard support for research into tamper resistance. We have not heard the Liberals pursue Bill C-307 as part of their innovation strategy. I imagine the current Liberal government is searching for ways to spend billions of taxpayers' dollars or borrowed money on innovation, so here would certainly be an opportunity.
At the same time, in a very few laboratories in Canada and the United States, teams of scientists are working to make these pills and patches and sprays tamper-proof, and they are succeeding. They are all going to tell us that they may need more money and more funding so the research can be accelerated and expanded. They want to go faster and someday have many of the more powerful medications that a doctor would prescribe either difficult to abuse or impossible to abuse. Canada could be leading the way on the conversion of some of these drugs to a completely safe state.
The government needs to get to work. Canadians want to hear from acute pain patients taking these ADF and TR medications, from representatives from the industrial producers of ADF and TR medications, and from international and independent experts in the field of abuse deterrence. This is one of the critical and important things that we have to be aware of. More consultation needs to be done by the government. Instead, it seems bent on simply voting down Bill C-307 and abandoning the wealth of opportunities that this field of medicine can provide.
Canadians are being hurt and killed by drugs that are available, drugs that can be broken into and abused in such a way as to cause overdoses. We could prevent that. The Liberals do not want this. All of this anti-recreational drug talk is boring to the Liberals. They have better things to do with billions of borrowed dollars than to help prevent death and serious injury from the abuse of drugs. They are more concerned about legalizing marijuana.
We hear terrible stories of house parties where someone hands out crystals crushed from pills to young people, who try it. Some might get really sick or go into trauma, and hopefully someone calls 911. Most often, though, we hear about these deaths the next morning. Having seen and recognized how serious this can be, people realize that something has to be done.
In the health minister's mandate letter from the Prime Minister, she is told to consult with Canadians. That directive asks the minister to provide Canadians with science- and evidence-based approaches to form public policy.
There is strong scientific confirmation of tamper-resistant technology and abuse-deterrent formulations. The minister should get to work and put Canadians to work developing this field of science in order to protect our children from the powerful medications prescribed by our doctors and found in our medicine cabinets. Whether the government agrees to help or not, powerful medication will be available increasingly in the protected forms contained in Bill C-307. Someday all powerful medications will be released to the public in these forms.
I hope enough Liberal backbenchers will show backbone and vote in support of Bill C-307 so that it can be sent to committee for further study. I hope enough Liberal MPs do not listen to the dictates from the PM and the health minister and will vote in support of Bill C-307. These brave MPs will be able to tell their constituents that they at least tried to save the lives of young folks who are getting hurt or killed by abusing drugs that are already at home and in the family medicine cabinet. The supporters of Bill C-307 will be able to hold their heads high when they go home, because they will have tried to convince their government to do the right thing.
Everyone should get behind this effort. It is just one thing, but these things add up. They save lives and they prevent suffering.