For Immediate Release
Friday, July 29, 2022 | 10:30 am | Windsor and Essex County
Rising rates of opioid-related overdose and death continue to be a concern for local health and social services leaders working on the Windsor-Essex Community Opioid and Substance Strategy (WECOSS). As part of the response to the growing crisis, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) is working with a new set of partners to get naloxone kits out to the community.
As part of a new strategy to highlight the impact of opioid use and overdose across all cultures, groups, and classes in the region, over 500 free naloxone kits have been handed out at churches, mosques, synagogues, and temples in the region in the past month. Equipping residents with the tools to prevent death caused by opioids is essential given the current state of opioid use in the region, according to the health unit’s Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Shanker Nesathurai. According to Nesathurai, “More than 60 people died of opioid-related overdoses in our community last year. Naloxone can save lives, and the health unit is pleased that faith based organizations have come forward to help.”
The success of the naloxone distribution events surpassed initial expectations from the health unit, due to the commitment of community partners who stepped forward to assist with distribution. The Canadian Mental Health Association (Windsor-Essex County Branch), Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, Essex-Windsor EMS, Family Services Windsor-Essex, and Windsor Police Services all provided staff and expertise at the events. Those who received kits learned how to identify an opioid-related overdose, the contents contained in a naloxone kit, and how to administer naloxone to temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
The WECHU will be continuing these efforts at places of worship on a per-request basis. Any place of worship or faith leader interested in the distribution of free naloxone kits to their congregation(s) is welcome to complete the Naloxone Distribution Event Request Form. Naloxone kits are also available without a prescription or health card, and at no cost from a number of pharmacies in Windsor-Essex County. In addition, a number of local organizations provide naloxone kits to clients on-site at no cost. Visit www.wecoss.ca for a list of pharmacies and locations.