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TORONTO: FEBRUARY 20, 2012-- Prescription painkiller OxyContin, which will be delisted from Ontario's drug benefit program, at the in-patient pharmacy at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto on Monday, February 20, 2012. (Michelle Siu for The Globe and Mail) [For News]

(Michelle Siu/The Globe and Mail

The governing Liberals are spending $15 million on programs to expand treatment for people addicted to prescription narcotics, such as OxyContin.

Health Minister Deb Matthews says the money will help in treating pregnant women and mothers as well as aboriginal communities. She says Ontario has the highest rate of opioid addiction in the country.

Ms. Matthews says the funding will also provide better early detection by expanding monitoring in emergency departments and public health units. She noted that the province is already monitoring narcotic prescriptions to flag any possible abuses of the drugs.

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Ms. Matthews says the funding is in response to recommendations made by experts who released a final report commissioned by the government.

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