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For Immediate Release
Wednesday, October 11th, 2017 at 1 p.m. | Windsor, ON

Leadership committee releases proposed opioid strategy consultation document and welcomes public to provide input.

The Windsor-Essex Community Opioid Strategy Leadership Committee (WECOS-LC) has released their proposed strategy for public input. Today, Co-Chairs Dr. Wajid Ahmed (Acting Medical Officer of Health; Windsor-Essex County Health Unit) and Chief Bruce Krauter (Essex-Windsor EMS) joined Drew Dilkens (Mayor; City of Windsor), Tom Bain (Warden; County of Essex) and Gary McNamara (Mayor; Town of Tecumseh/Chair; Windsor-Essex County Board of Health) along with other members of WECOS-LC in introducing eight strategies and a set of potential interventions to address the rising rates of opioid overdose and death in Windsor-Essex.

The proposal, drafted by members of the Leadership Committee, is now open for input from the community. In particular, the Co-Chairs stressed the importance of collecting feedback from those who are most impacted by the recent increase in emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths related to opioids. According to Dr. Ahmed, “feedback from people with lived experiences using opioids and other drugs, as well as their friends and families will ensure that the final strategy is realistic, appropriate, and tailored to the unique needs of Windsor and Essex County.”

In order to do so, the committee is organizing two Community Consultation events, one at the downtown Windsor YMCA on October 17th and one at the Leamington Kinsmen Recreation Complex on October 18th. The events will feature our local elected officials, Dr. Ahmed, and Chief Krauter, alongside our WECOS-LC as well as a guest speaker from the Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council. Registration for each event is limited and attendees must register in order to participate in the facilitated group discussions to discuss the proposed strategy and how best to meet the needs of Windsor-Essex residents at risk of opioid overdose. Attendees have the option to register at the door as well (pending availability).

According to a report released earlier this year, the total rate of opioid users in Windsor-Essex is 18.9% greater than the provincial average with the greatest density of opioid related emergency department visits coming from the downtown cores of the City of Windsor and the Municipality of Leamington. These increasing rates have been found in municipalities across the province and nation and have prompted action at all levels of government. Chief Krauter expressed his encouragement with the progress so far but recognized it is the first step of many, “We need to take a comprehensive approach to addressing the opioid misuse in our community. This proposal provides the foundation for much more work to be done to address the recent increase in opioid related harms.”

For those who are unable to attend the community consultations, a survey has been posted with a copy of the proposal document on the Health Unit’s website and hard copies will be made available at a number of community service organizations across the city and county.

Registration for the community forum is available on the Health Unit’s website at www.wechu.org or by contacting the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit at 519-258-2146 extension 3100.

The community consultation forums will be held in Windsor and Leamington as follows.

WINDSOR
Tuesday, OCTOBER 17th
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
YMCA –downtown site
500 Victoria Ave. Windsor, ON N9A 4M8

LEAMINGTON
Wednesday, OCTOBER 18th
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Leamington Kinsmen Recreation Complex
249 Sherk St., Leamington, ON N8H 4X7


Media Contact:
Communications Department
Windsor-Essex County Health Unit
519-258-2146 ext. 6397 (NEWS)
news@wechu.org