The opioid crisis has impacted communities of all sizes within Ontario and across Canada. The Windsor-Essex Community Opioid and Substance Strategy (WECOSS) was initially developed to address this crisis by creating a local response based on existing best practices, community feedback, and engagement of people with lived experience using substances (PWLE). This local response prioritizes the health and wellbeing of all people in Windsor and Essex County by promoting evidence-based practices across the four pillars of the Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy: Prevention, Treatment, Harm Reduction, and Enforcement (Health Canada, 2018). Through ongoing community dialogue, the emergence of additional local data, the Leadership Committee of the WECOSS expanded its scope to include other substances, becoming a poly-substance strategy. Opioids remain the current priority but efforts have not been limited to addressing a single substance in isolation.
This annual report provides an overview and highlights the activities undertaken through the strategy in its first year of implementation (2018). It describes the public health issues and community impacts of substance use, the WECOSS Action Plan, the activities identified for implementation in Year One, and progress made on these activities.