Annual Report 2019

Implementation of the Strategy

The second year of the Strategy has demonstrated the community partners’ and WECOSS-Leadership Committee’s commitment to the ongoing development and implementation of a community-based substance strategy that will reduce the burden of related social and health concerns in our community, through individual and collective action.

Leadership Committee

Overdose Monitoring and Response System
Peer Advisory Committee
Prevention & Education
Working Group


  • Youth Engagement for Substance Use Prevention
  • Label Me Person: Anti-Stigma Campaign
  • Healthcare Provider Education
Harm Reduction
Working Group


  • Community Engagement for Supervised Injection Services
  • Needle Syringe Program Expansion
  • Needle Drop Boxes: Additional Locations, Signage, and Education
  • Naloxone Program Promotion & Expansion
Treatment & Recovery
Working Group


  • Pathways: System Navigation for Treatment and Recovery Services
  • Increased Access and Coordination of Treatment and Recovery Services
  • Overdose Response Teams
Enforcement & Justice
Working Group


  • Strengthen Community Safety Through Partnership
  • Enforcement Agencies as “Community Resources”

Making a Difference: How Are We Measuring Progress?

In 2019 an evaluation strategy for WECOSS was developed. The purpose of this evaluation is to identify and measure where and how the WECOSS collaborative and the pillar working groups’ efforts prevent, reduce and eliminate health and social harms related to substance use in Windsor and Essex County.  Specifically, the evaluation will measure the processes, outcomes and longer-term impacts of addressing the WECOSS recommendations through a four-pillar approach. 

Measuring the Strategy will support and improve plans and partnerships needed to enhance the quality of services and supports for substance use in the region.

Project Summaries 2019

Foundational Activities

Opioid and Substance Use Notification System

The development of a communication and emergency response systems between public health, emergency and health services, and other community stakeholders is central to the WECOSS.  As the coordinating and resource agency for the WECOSS, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit’s existing Ministry mandated activities support addressing substance use through data monitoring and surveillance activities. These activities support a system which provides accurate and timely information on substance-use related emergency department visits in Windsor and Essex County (WEC).

Alerts are issued when there is a need to increase awareness and mobilize community organizations that serve people who use substances in order to improve response and increase overdose prevention and harm reduction activities. In 2019 there were nine (9) community alerts issued as a result the Opioid and Substance Use Notification System (OSUNS).

Peer Engagement

Meaningful engagement of people with lived experience with substance use (PWLE or peers) continues to ensure that local activities are reflective of the needs of those they are intended to help. Peer involvement in WECOSS working groups aided in decision making throughout the year and dedicated sessions were organized throughout the year. Some ideas that were implemented included:

  • Sending overdose alerts by email to subscribers in the community
  • Posting overdose alerts as community notices at central locations