Know Your Drugs is a global awareness campaign that was developed by the charitable organization Canadians for Vanessa’s Law in collaboration with RxISK.

Vanessa’s Law (Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act) is named after Vanessa Young, who died on March 19, 2000 when she was 15 years old of a heart attack caused by Prepulsid, a prescription drug that Health Canada removed from the market on August 7, 2000.

Vanessa’s father, Terence Young, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Oakville, Ontario from 2008 to 2015, introduced the federal law as a Private Member’s Bill (C-17) on December 6, 2013. It received Royal Assent on November 6, 2014 after being passed unanimously in the House of Commons and Senate.

There are four components to this campaign that you can get involved with:

1 – Promote

Promote the Know Your Drugs global awareness campaign.

The information and links at Know Your Drugs will help consumers (parents, guardians or caregivers) make informed choices about prescription drug use.

2 – Presentations

Share our presentations:

Know Your Drugs – you can also share the video.

Preventing Another Opioid Crisis – David Carmichael, Executive Director of Canadians for Vanessa’s Law, delivered this presentation before each public discussion about prescription drug safety during his Cross-Canada Tour, which started on April 19, 2022 in Halifax, Nova Scotia and ended on June 23, 2022 in Victoria, British Columbia. His tour was promoted by CTV W5, Real Life (Australia), Windsor Star, Global News (Calgary), and 640 Talk Radio (Toronto).

How to Prevent Mass Shootings – David is planning to deliver this presentation, which includes a screening of the 2017 BBC Panorama documentary A Prescription for Murder? about Aurora Theater shooter James Holmes, before public discussions about mass shootings and SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressants during his United States tour.

3 – Question, Research, and Report

Encourage family and friends to ask their doctor questions and research drug side effects before they get a prescription filled, which will help them make an informed choice about use. It is also important for them to report suspected adverse drug reactions (ADRs) to government regulators of the pharmaceutical industry.

Before consumers (parents, guardians or caregivers) submit an ADR report to their government regulator, it might be helpful for them to get a free RxISK Report, which determines how likely it is that an adverse reaction was caused by a drug side effect.

4 – Advocate, Stories and Tapering

Advocate for the hospital and doctors in your community to report ADRs to the government regulator of the pharmaceutical industry in your country. Too often, ADRs become tragic stories.

If you are considering tapering from a prescription drug, you should seek medical advice first.


Canadians for Vanessa’s Law is the lead charitable organization for the Know Your Drugs global awareness campaign.

The Board of Directors are:

  • Dr. Nancy Olivieri
  • Dr. Elia Abi-Jaoude
  • Dr. Leslie Balmer
  • Dr. Joel Lexchin


Canadians make informed choices about prescription drug use.


Helping Canadians make informed choices about prescription drug use by educating them about Vanessa’s Law and prescription drug safety.


To advance education by providing educational materials, presentations, workshops, and consultations to Canadians on the:

  • Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act (Vanessa’s Law) and its implications on Canada’s healthcare system;
  • Safe and effective use of prescription drugs; and
  • Risks and benefits of prescription drugs.

RxISK is owned and operated by Data Based Medicine Americas Ltd., based in Toronto, Canada.

The founding members of the medical and research team are:

  • Dr. David Healy
  • Dr. Derelie (Dee) Mangin
  • Dr. Kalman Applbaum
  • Dr. Ralph Edwards
  • Dr. Brenda Gallie
  • Robert Whitaker
  • Dr. Joanna Le Noury
  • Dr. Nancy Olivieri

RxISK is a free, independent website where people can research prescription drugs and report a drug side effect – identifying problems and possible solutions when it might still be possible to intervene and find a solution.