Annual Report 2019

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 education strategies, in the school setting.

Summary of Activities: Group interviews with over 150 students in local school boards guided the development of the 2019 Higher Education strategy, which focused on the influence of cannabis legalization on youth behaviours as well as the dangers of consuming substances from an unknown source. In 2019, Higher Education consisted of social media on the SnapChat and Instagram platforms.

Implementation of the Higher Education strategy began on November 25, 2019, through a media event at the Teen Health site of the Windsor-Essex Community Health Centre. Social Media advertisements were purchased targeting specific demographics and geographic areas (i.e., 13 – 25-year-old, male and females in Windsor-Essex County). The user had the ability to “swipe up” on the ad to be redirected to a landing page offering support for substance use and mental health concerns. The campaign model is scalable and will be adapted for use with other substances beyond 2019.

Measurable Outputs:

  • 960,643 SnapChat impressions (total number of times a user saw the advertisements)
  • 28,312 Instagram reach (total number of unique accounts who saw this content)
  • 10,252 swipe ups (number of times a user looked for further information)

Next Steps:

  • Evaluation and subsequent development of new messaging guided by another set of group interviews in the school setting
  • School and community-based implementation of Higher Education messaging



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 determine best practice for physician and patient education related to prescribing opioids to treat acute and chronic pain.

Summary of Activities: In July 2019, the Opioid Prescribing Practices among Primary Healthcare Providers (HCP) online survey was disseminated by a local advisory table of healthcare providers, in collaboration with members of a community governed primary care and public health partnership. The intent of this survey was to assess HCPs knowledge and use of best practices for opioid prescribing and alternative pain management options. The results of the survey facilitated the development of locally relevant education and resources for providers and their patients. A report of the survey results highlighted some of the knowledge and practice gaps identified.

Measurable Outputs:

  • 49 HCP completed the Opioid Prescribing Practices among Primary Healthcare Providers survey

Next Steps:

  • Development of a module-based education program with a curriculum that addresses the gaps identified in the survey results, along with information about local substance use resources and services for patients.



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

Goal: To implement an awareness campaign to address the stigma associated with substance use and harm reduction approaches, that promotes inclusive and non-stigmatizing language.

Summary of Activities: Implementation of the Label Me Person (LMP) campaign began with the recruitment of staff and peers to develop campaign messaging and workshop content. The campaign launched on Wednesday, September 25th, 2019, at Windsor Regional Hospital by introducing the three main components of the campaign: a community education display, a media campaign that features the personal narratives of people with lived experience with substance use (PWLE), and community education workshops on harm reduction approaches and the importance of using non-stigmatizing language.

Measurable Outputs:

  • 530 visitors educated at community display in three community organizations
  • 54 Attendees at  five educational workshops
  • 9 Peers trained to support the work of the LMP campaign and share their experiences in a meaningful way in the community
  • 6 Peer stories gathered to help the community have a better understanding of the experiences of people who use substances

Next Steps

  • Additional community education workshops are planned throughout 2020 and will be held at various locations across Windsor and Essex County.
  • Stakeholder narratives will be expanded to include PWLE, narratives from community residents and from service providers.