Submitted Media Release

Launched in November 2017, the Brantford-Brant Community Drug Strategy (BBCDS) is a multi-stakeholder community initiative made up of a partnership of the City of Brantford, Brantford Police Services, the County of Brant, OPP, the Brant County Health Unit, St. Leonard’s Community Services, as well as other healthcare agencies and mental health and addiction treatment providers.

While national opioid related deaths, overdoses, and emergency visits continue to increase, City and Health Unit officials are encouraged by a decreasing trend in our region since the launch of the Drug Strategy.

Last week, a collaborative of City, County, and Six Nations representatives from health, education, municipal government, and law enforcement met to review the progress of the BBCDS to date and set priorities for year two. A key decision coming out the annual review is an updated governance structure led by a newly established Steering Committee that will be chaired by Brantford Mayor, Kevin Davis.

Members of the Steering Committee will also include leaders from the Brant County Health Unit, the County of Brant, Brantford Police Services, OPP, Six Nations, St. Leonard’s Community Services, the Brant Community Healthcare System, the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), and the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).

“While I am encouraged by the progress we’ve made as a community to date, we, like other municipalities, need to do more to combat this crisis,” said Brantford Mayor Kevin Davis. “This challenge is not unique to Brantford, nor is the fact that we can’t do this alone – we need support from other levels of government which is why we have also invited MP McColeman and MPP Bouma to the Steering Committee table. With senior leaders of each stakeholder group engaged at the Steering Committee level, I’m confident that we can act more swiftly and effectively to get the resources our municipalities require to help to those in need sooner.”

Last week Brantford City Council unanimously approved funding for year one of the Brantford Downtown Outreach Team Pilot Program made up of a nurse practitioner, addictions worker, peer support worker, and housing specialist to reach out to and connect with vulnerable people who may not have the capacity to seek help on their own though are in vital need of assistance.

The goal is to stabilize individuals who require treatment and to connect them with primary care services with a longer-term objective to move people into more permanent housing, counseling and medical service.

“In 2018 we saw our community partners work hard to increase Naloxone distribution, install needle drop boxes, and enhance harm reduction services,” said Dr. Malcolm Lock, Medical Officer of Health at the Brant County Health Unit. “We are pleased that the work of the Drug Strategy partners is having an impact on the overall health of our community, and we look forward to continuing our work in preventing and reducing harms associated with drug use.”

Another outcome of the annual review was to focus on sustaining funding for the Rapid Access Addictions Media (RAAM) Clinic that opened in September 2018 with the goal of providing low-barrier access for patients seeking treatment for any substance use disorder or addiction. Patients do not need an appointment and are seen on a walk-in basis.

The RAAM Clinic is a multi-stakeholder initiative led by St Leonard’s Community Services in partnership with the Brant Community Healthcare System, the Canadian Mental Health Association of Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk, and De dwa da dehs nye>s Aboriginal Health Centre. The clinic is located at 347 Colborne Street, beside the Grand River Community Health Centre.