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The first phase of action for the WECOS-LC was to conduct a scan of other community drug strategies (CDS), including both poly-substance and opioid-specific strategies.  Common approaches that were considered and incorporated into the WECOS include: 

  • Four pillar approach: 1) Prevention, (2) Treatment, (3) Enforcement, and (4) Harm reduction.
  • Coordinated and comprehensive response: A response that balances public health with public safety.
  • Leadership structure: To provide sustainability, coordination, evaluation, and oversight of projects.
  • Front line workers and those with lived experience: By including these groups in the development process we will learn about and from groups which are at high risk of addiction and overdose.
  • Collective impact framework: Collective impact theory is based on the idea that complex social issues are best addressed when different sectors of a community work together.
  • Communication: Consistent communication is needed with the broader community about opioid use and overdose prevention, and among working groups.
  • Evidence-based activities: Many ideas may come from activities that are part of developing a strategy (e.g., community consultations), but they must be backed by an evidence base to be part of the final strategy.
  • Support of the municipality: Municipal or regional council endorsement of a CDS can be helpful to moving activities forward and championing the strategy at several levels.