Module 1: Professional Accountability and Prescribing

Lesson 1

The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (cont’d)

Section 56 of the CDSA defines special conditions under which the Minster may exempt an individual or a specified controlled drug or substance from the application of any part of the CDSA and NCPR. A Section 56 exemption means that an individual would not face the possibility of criminal charges for using a controlled drug or substance in a manner that is necessary for medical or scientific purposes or outside a setting defined in the CDSA.

For example, an exemption is needed for healthcare providers who prescribe methadone for opioid dependence treatment or chronic pain management. Currently this authority is limited to physicians but is also moving forward to include NPs in many jurisdictions.

A Section 56 exemption under the CDSA entitled Class Exemption for RNs Delivering Primary Health Care at a Health Facility in a Remote and/or Isolated Community authorizes RNs to possess, provide, administer, transport, send and deliver controlled drugs and substances when providing primary health care services to patients who are located in a remote and/or isolated community, subject to the terms and conditions laid out in the exemption.