Public Notice of Intent

Substance Abuse and Problem Gambling


Designation Number: CA/HSO 22004:2017

Standards notification on a: New Development

Type of Standard: Health Service

Status: Open for comment (15 days)

Responsible Technical Committee: TC011 – Mental Health and Addictions

Scope: Health Standards Organization (HSO) is revising the Substance Abuse and Addictions Services standard as a New Development, following the Standard’s Council of Canada and HSO’s international standard development process.

It was determined that the content from the Aboriginal Substance Misuse Services standard will be revised and included within the content of the Substance Abuse and Problem Gambling standard. This decision was made due to the significant content overlap and similarities between the two standards.

The Substance Abuse and Problem Gambling standard revision will aim to make the standard:

  • Inclusive to be adaptable to various audiences using the standard through assessment manuals, including small organizations and Indigenous centres and organizations;
  • Applicable to various organizations providing substance abuse treatment in Canada and internationally;
  • Aligned with the Mental Health and Community Based Mental Health Services standards.

Feedback from stakeholders has highlighted the significant need to strengthen content in the Substance Abuse and Problem Gambling standard to reflect updates in the field, especially in relation to suicide prevention.

Project Need: Substance use, abuse, dependency, and addictions can negatively affect a person’s physical health, mental health, relationships, worklife, community life, as well as the safety of the public. The social cost of substance abuse in Canada in 2002 was estimated to be $39.8 billion.The cost of the abuse of substances has a direct impact on productivity losses in the workplace and home, health care, and also law enforcement. (Rehm, J. et al. (2006). The Costs of Substance Abuse in Canada 2002. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse)

Issues and challenges facing organizations providing substance abuse services are constantly evolving, including integrated services with mental health and suicide prevention, culturally appropriate services for the Indigenous community and other minorities, and timely issues such as cannabis legislation and the opioid crisis. Now more than ever quality health standards are needed that are informed by current research and best practices, as well experts in the field, including patients and family members.  The Substance Abuse and Problem Gambling standard content is outdated and is in need of an update because it was last revised in 2008.

Applicability:  Global

Proposed Timeline: The standard is expected to be completed by July 2018.

Posted on: September 15, 2017

Contact Information: Organizations interested to support the development of this standard or wanting to be consulted as a stakeholder during the development process may contact us at Individuals, including patients, providers, health leaders and the members of the public are encouraged to provide comments through stakeholder organizations.


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