Community Set to Launch Integrated Drug Strategy 

For Immediate Release
10/10/2017 
Contact: Maria Visocchi, Director, Communications & Community Engagement 
Phone: 519-759-4222 

BRANTFORD, ON – In June 2016, the Safe Brantford CORE Team identified the need for an Integrated Drug Strategy. A number of factors lead to the need for this strategy in our community including higher-than-average use of illicit drugs, pending changes to marijuana legislation, the growing misuse of prescription and non-prescription opioids, as well as input of service providers and addictions experts, all of whom advocated for an immediate community response.

The Drug Strategy Coordination Committee led development of the strategy. The Committee is comprised of key staff from the Brant County Health Unit, St. Leonard’s Community Services, Brantford Police Services, and the City of Brantford. The Brantford-Brant Community Drugs Strategy includes over 40 recommendations that serve as a roadmap for coordinated community effort.

The municipality is also uniquely positioned to advocate for resources from other levels of government that will be essential to the success of the strategy. "I am very impressed by how the community has responded to this challenge”, said Mayor Chris Friel. "The City is committed to working with other levels of government to make sure that we get the resources and funding needed to support this strategy."

The strategy also highlights numerous opportunities for immediate action including increased access to holistic pain management, increased youth-focused addictions counselling, increased public education and awareness, increased access to long-term counselling, increased support for individuals experiencing trauma or grief, increased treatment and mental health supports for persons while incarcerated, and increased investment in peer support programs.

The strategy recognizes that municipalities play an important role in addressing substance use through the provision of social services, housing, early learning, and recreation programming, as well as providing communications and coordination support to large scale community planning efforts. "Our focus is on helping people get healthy and preventing youth from becoming affected by drug use. Everyone in this community has a role to play in this effort," said Jo Cupoli-Atanas, General Manager, Health and Human Services, City of Brantford. The City will form an internal working group made up of representatives from Health & Human Services, Parks and Recreation, Communications and Community Engagement, and the Brantford Public Library to work with the Drug Strategy Coordination Committee to define specific actions the City can lead in support the recommendations.

St. Leonard’s Community Services has accessed Ontario Trillium Funding to hire a Drug Strategy Coordinator. This role will work closely with key stakeholders including Brantford Police Services, the Brant County Health Unit, the Canadian Mental Health Association, the City of Brantford and other key stakeholders to implement actions and evaluate the impact of the strategy. The strategy will be officially launched in November 2017 at the Safe Brantford Forum.

ABOUT SAFE BRANTFORD

The Safe Brantford initiative was launched in May 2014 as a long-term crime prevention model that was designed to respond to emerging community priorities, support individuals and families at risk and strengthen local crime prevention approaches through partnership building and collaboration. The initiative has been operationalized through a variety of projects, strategies and programs such as the Brant Community Response Team, Youth Services Strategy, Intimate Partner Violence Research, and Consumer Protection Workshops.