FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 19th, 2018 | 10 a.m. | Windsor and Essex County
The strategy to battle rising rates of opioid-related overdose and death in Windsor-Essex was released to the public on Friday by the Opioid Strategy Leadership Committee Co-Chairs Dr. Wajid Ahmed (Acting Medical Officer of Health, Windsor-Essex County Health Unit) and Chief Bruce Krauter (Essex-Windsor EMS).
Joined by Mayor Drew Dilkens and Board of Health Chair Gary McNamara (Mayor; Town of Tecumseh) the Co-Chairs presented a set of short and long-term actions under the areas of Prevention/Education, Harm Reduction, Treatment/Recovery, and Enforcement/Justice. The activities range from community education campaigns to developing an overdose response and monitoring system and were developed based on effective practices from across North America, but refined using feedback from residents of Windsor-Essex. The development process included a scan of existing support and treatment services in Windsor-Essex, two community forum consultation events, and a feedback survey. Dr. Ahmed emphasized the importance of community input in developing the strategy, “Without including the personal perspectives of those with lived experience, as well as their friends and loved ones, this strategy would not have been truly representative or focused enough to achieve all that it intends for those impacted in our community.”
The four focus areas will be the basis to establish a set of community working groups which will form and begin to meet in the coming months to prioritize the activities detailed in the report. According to Chief Krauter, “No single approach or strategy will fully address an issue as complex as the opioid epidemic occurring across the province and country. This set of actions looks beyond what any one of our organizations can do in isolation and towards the collective impact of a number of community groups working toward the same goals.”
To review a copy of the action plan, please visit the Health Unit’s website. If you or your organization is interested in learning more about the working groups contact the Health Unit at 519-258-2146 x 3100
Windsor-Essex County Health Unit
519-258-2146 ext. 6397 (news)