As part of the Health Unit’s commitment to increasing access to harm reduction services to prevent opioid overdose-related deaths, a variety of programs and services are offered to the community to respond to the worsening opioid and drug overdose crisis in Windsor-Essex County.
Under the Ontario Naloxone Program and Expanded Access program, the Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention department provides training to eligible community organizations and a supply of naloxone kits, which they then distribute directly to their clients who are at risk of an opioid overdose, as well as their friends and family.
There are currently 18 community partners actively involved in the ONP, four of which were onboarded or retrained during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. These included Brentwood Recovery Home, Essex-Windsor EMS, Windsor Fire and Rescue Services, and Windsor Police Services. Existing COVID-19 restrictions and shifting resource demands disrupted the traditional delivery of the ONP, however, the Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention Department created asynchronous training video modules, which could be accessed by the various program leads to educate their staff through the train-the-trainer model.
Collectively, these organizations have distributed 1,065 naloxone kits and trained 2,820 individuals trained to administer naloxone in 2021, higher than in two of the previous years. The increasing trend of opioid overdoses is reflected in the number of confirmed opioid overdose monthly emergency department visits in 2021, and there were also 13 WECOSS community overdose alerts issued during that same period, higher than the previous two years combined.
Ontario Naloxone Program: By The Numbers
4 community partners onboarded or retrained
1,065 naloxone kits distributed through the ONP
2,820 individuals trained to administer naloxone
In 2021, the Windsor-Essex Community Opioid & Substance Strategy (WECOSS) moved forward with a project to establish a Consumption & Treatment Services (CTS) facility in the City of Windsor. The WECHU, in partnership with representatives on the advisory committee, and the WECOSS, launched a site-specific community consultation on June 17, 2021 to gather community feedback about two candidate locations for a local Consumption and Treatment Services (CTS) facility.
The purpose of the site-specific community consultation was to understand community perceptions about the feasibility and acceptability of a potential CTS facility at either of the two candidate locations. The input collected through the community consultation will be used to inform the selection of one optimal location to submit through applications to the federal and provincial governments for approval in 2022. A four-phased, multi-pronged data collection approach was employed as part of the comprehensive community consultation plan.
Consumption and Treatment Services Community Consultation
- 448 survey responses from the community survey
- 13 key informant interviews with business and agency stakeholders operating in the area
- 7 focus groups with area stakeholder groups
- 3 Virtual Town Hall meetings for community members to ask questions and voice concerns
In the beginning of 2021, a comprehensive evaluation of the WECOSS was completed to assess the level of awareness and early impact of the strategy in the community. The methodology involved engagement with members of the Leadership Committee of the WECOSS as well as the general public through key informant interviews and surveys. Moving forward, the modernization of the WECOSS will support implementation of bold actions to help save lives and create a healthy and safe community for everyone.