Annual Report 2018

Prevention and Education



WECOSS Action Plan Guiding Recommendation [THREE]:

Provide early education and prevention about opioids and other substance use.

Goal: To engage youth in the development of health promotion programming related to substance use, starting with the creation of messaging, through to the delivery of programs in the school setting. Given the recent legalization of cannabis, the initial focus of the project will be on cannabis; however, the program will be adaptable for use with other substances.

Summary of Activities: Led by senior-level administrators from the three largest school boards in the region and supported by the coordinating efforts of WECHU staff, preliminary activities focused on recruitment of youth to develop substance-specific messaging. By utilizing a youth engagement framework, messaging content and communication mechanisms will ensure they meet the needs of the target population.

Next Steps:

  • The formation of group(s) consisting of high school aged students representing a diverse population from across Windsor and Essex County
  • Youth-led message development
  • The dissemination of messaging throughout the region in public, Catholic, and French-speaking schools



WECOSS Action Plan Guiding Recommendation [SIX]: Address stigma associated with problematic substance use through the development of supportive polices and education of healthcare professionals, community organizations and the public.

Goal: To develop an anti-stigma campaign, including public education sessions to address the stigma associated with substance use. This campaign would promote inclusive and non-stigmatizing language, creating a community forum to dispel myths around harm reduction approaches and encourage the community to see themselves as agents of change in addressing the opioid crisis.

Summary of Activities: In partnership with the AIDS Committee of Windsor, local community renewal groups developed messaging for an anti-stigma campaign, called Label Me Person. A funding proposal was developed and disseminated to community agencies and funding was secured with an implementation timeline set for 2019.

Nest Steps:

  • The Solcz Family Foundation has provided generous funding to support project implementation
  • Label Me Person  messaging and campaign resources will be finalized
  • Recruitment of peers to support development of campaign messaging and workshop content



WECOSS Action Plan Guiding Recommendation [THREE]

Provide early education and prevention about opioids and other substance use.

Goal: To develop a primer that provides journalists and other communication professionals with important facts regarding opioids and other substance use and harm reduction approaches. This primer includes guidelines for reporting on these topics in ways that encourage understanding and decrease stigma around substance use disorders. This primer will play a central role in promoting and supporting key messages associated with the Strategy.

Summary of Activities: Best practice health communication approaches were utilized in developing content for a web-based resource located on the website.

Measurable Outputs:

  • A web-based media primer that can be accessed by media and communications professionals at local organizations



WECOSS Action Plan Guiding Recommendation [TWO]

Support healthcare providers to play a key role, through appropriate prescribing practices, patient education about opioids and overdose prevention, and other pain management options.

Goal: To survey primary care practitioners to determine knowledge, awareness, and use of best practices for opioid prescribing and alternative pain management options. A review of existing evidence will be used to determine best practice for prescribing opioids and patient education through primary care practice.

Summary of Activities: This project was initiated late in 2018, but strong leadership from several healthcare organizations have helped to set a clear course for this project. An examination of local data on prescribing practices by healthcare and dental providers will help to identify key targets for education and awareness raising initiatives.

Next Steps:

  • Matrix/inventory of existing education resources for both healthcare providers and patients’ resources
  • Survey of healthcare providers to determine gaps in education related to prescribing practices
  • Development of educational program that addresses gaps in knowledge
  • Dissemination of educational program
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