Last year nearly 2 million people in Ontario filled opioid prescriptions, representing approximately 14% of the overall population, or one out of every seven people (Health Quality Ontario, 2017). These high volumes of opioid being made available in communities across the province have led to higher rates of misuse, abuse and overdose. This is a concern not only for patients who are prescribed opioids but also their family members, and those who obtain these substances on the illicit market. Federal and provincial governments have recently released strategies to address some of these issues however additional action is needed at the local and regional levels.
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The Windsor-Essex Community Opioid Strategy (WECOS) seeks to address the increases in opioid related harms through a set of best practice strategies tailored through community feedback. Recognizing that no single activity or action can adequately address an issue as complex as substance abuse, a four pillar approach has been adopted in similar sized Ontario municipalities and as such will be the structural model on which the WECOS is based.
Overview of opioid misuse in Windsor and Essex County and its burden on the health of our local population.