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For Immediate Release
Monday, August 29, 2022  | 3:30 p.m. | Windsor and Essex County


August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day, where we remember the lives lost due to an opioid overdose and take collective action to end stigma by creating a more inclusive environment for people who use substances. From 2019 to 2021, our community lost 178 lives to opioid use. The number of opioid-related deaths in Windsor-Essex County continues to rise each year, marked by the alarming number of opioid-related Emergency Department visits and substance use-related EMS calls recorded by the local Opioid and Substance Use Notification System.

“Every overdose-related injury and death in our community is someone’s family member, friend, or neighbour. Every life lost to an overdose is one life too many. Overdoses are preventable, and there are steps we can all take together to prevent this from happening to someone we know and love,” says Nicole Dupuis, CEO of the WECHU and Co-Chair for the Windsor-Essex Community Opioid and Substance Strategy (WECOSS).

In recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day, residents are encouraged to participate in Pozitive Pathways Community Services’ free virtual webinar on August 31 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. that will discuss opioids, myths around drug use and overdoses, and a training on administering Naloxone Nasal Spray. We can work together to prevent overdoses in our community by:

  • Getting a free Naloxone Kit from a pharmacy or community partner. Having a take-home naloxone kit accessible can help prevent death or injury associated with an opioid overdose.
  • Participating in National Drug Drop off Month this August by checking your medicine cabinets and returning any unused or expired medications to your pharmacy for safe disposal.

“As International Overdose Awareness day approaches, we continue to reflect on the overdose, opioid, and drug policy crisis and its impact on our region. The recent report on Opioid Toxicity Among Ontarians Who Worked in the Construction Industry is another critical reminder that substance use and addiction impact all members of our community, and that stigmatization of people who use substances needs to be continuously addressed to support improvement in how people access support and are retained in care,” says Michael Brennan, Executive Director of Pozitive Pathways Community Services.

If you think someone may be experiencing an overdose, call 9-1-1 immediately and administer naloxone. If you or someone you care about is struggling with alcohol, opioids, or other substances, find the right help.

The Windsor-Essex Community Opioid and Substance Strategy (WECOSS) is a community-based opioid and polysubstance strategy that aims to reduce health and social burden associated with substance use in Windsor and Essex County. The WECOSS is led by a collaborative of stakeholders who are committed to driving a coordinated multi-pronged response to substance use. Please visit www.wecoss.ca to learn more about substance use and overdose.

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