Health Minister Doug Currie says he'll release his department's addiction strategy plan next week, in the face of what he describes as a rapidly growing problem.

Doug Currie - Custom

Health Minister Doug Currie is concerned by the growing number of opiate prescriptions being written on P.E.I. (CBC)

P.E.I. has one of the highest rates of addiction in the country, he said, and demand for services is increasing.

"We're seeing youth that are getting access to opioids that are highly addictive, which is a concern," said Currie.

"In 2006 we saw, I think, nine people on the methadone program. Today, in our province, we've got about 180 people that are actively engaged in the methadone program with a wait list of probably 80 people."

Health Department staff have been reviewing the volume of prescriptions for opiates, along with access and enforcement issues. Currie said he's concerned by data that shows a 17 per cent increase in prescriptions for five opiates.

The addiction report will also look at access to methadone and other types of treatment. The report will be released Nov. 1.