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 people 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 for moving activities forward and championing the strategy at several levels.