The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is out with a plan to address opioid use in our region.
The Simcoe Muskoka Opioid Strategy action plan was unveiled on Wednesday at the health unit's office in Barrie.
It tackles the issue from a number of different areas.
The plan covers the five action pillars (Prevention, Treatment, Harm Reduction, Enforcement, and Emergency Management) and two foundation pillars (Lived Experience, and Data and Evaluation).
It took over a year to develop the action plan and Dr. Lisa Simon says they expect to take up to three years to fully implement their strategy.
She says there is a lot of will from the community to address this issue, and when there is adequate funding and professionals available it should roll out smoothly.
Simon is Co-Chair of the SMOS steering committee and is also Associate Medical Officer of Health.
Simon says the action plan looks at the ways to deal with the issue like trauma, poverty, health care, and enforcement.
She says what they heard from those who went through the experience is the issue of stigma and that it is still seen as a barrier in seeking treatment.
Simon says there are multiple avenues where people can find themselves exposed to these kinds of drugs.
She says that is why there are a number of prongs to this strategy.
Simon says with fentanyl being prevalent, people should be cautious as it is becoming very risky experimenting with drugs.
But she says because more people are aware of this issue it will mean they will have more compassion towards those who are addicted to these drugs.
Also at the news conference was Evelyn Pollock who talk about her son who died in 2017 after overdosing on drugs laced with fentanyl.
People can report on drugs that may contain fentanyl and other opioids by going to www.preventOD.ca
You can hear the full interview with Dr. Simon by clicking on audio.