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Simcoe Muskoka Opioid Strategy: An Action Plan for Our Communities

Thumbnail of Opioid Report The Simcoe Muskoka Opioid Strategy is a large partnership formed to address the growing crisis of opioid use and overdose in our region.

The group has released an action plan whose aim is “dramatically reducing the harms of opioids in our communities.”

The report, An Action Plan for Our Communities, is a technical document and contains some history of the use of opioids, action plans, along with charts for executing the plans.

Here are some highlights of action plans in the report.

An early warning system: Thanks to connections between the health unit, hospitals, police and paramedic services there is now a way to monitor increases in overdoses. This allows authorities to warn the public of the possible presence of street drugs laced with fentanyl or carfentanil. The public can also play a part now, by reporting suspected laced drugs in the new website www.preventOD.ca — there is a form that allows people to enter reports anonymously.

Harm reduction plans: A number of projects are either begun or in the works to help the people who choose not to or can’t stop using drugs because of addiction. Naloxone is being widely distributed to quickly provide temporary treatment for an overdose. A feasibility study will be conducted to determine if and where safe consumption sites are needed, and overdose prevention sites are also possible.

Medical and emergency response: There are growing treatment options for those suffering from opioid addiction. This includes a Rapid Access Addiction Medical Clinic (RAAM) that has opened to provide rapid access to treatments that can help ease people off opioids and other drugs.  An emergency management plan is in the works to respond when there are surges in overdoses due to bad street supplies.

Prevention and enforcement: The best way to reduce the crisis is to stop people from getting started. Collaborations will occur around mental health and early childhood issues, as some of the root causes of opioid misuse. There will be campaigns to reduce the stigma around people who are dealing with addiction. There will be more general awareness and skill-building within schools, parents and the general public to avoid the harms of opioid misuse. And stronger links between all police forces are intended to help in identifying people who are manufacturing or trafficking illicit opioids, and quickly bring them to justice.

Read An Action Plan for Our Communities

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