Injection drug equipment. File photo courtesy of Lawson Health Research Institute.Injection drug equipment. File photo courtesy of Lawson Health Research Institute.

Municipal drug strategy up for discussion

The municipality of Chatham-Kent could soon be looking at the possibility of creating a drug strategy.

On Monday night, Councilor Brock McGregor will bring forward a motion that requests administration staff to prepare a report detailing what resources would be required to create a municipal-led drug strategy.

McGregor said the strategy would focus heavily on creating a collaborative effort between the municipality and different community agencies to help people struggling with addiction.

"We're really looking for some direction. Some coordination and direction between the municipality and service providers so we're all working towards the same goal," he said. "Really, rely on the expertise at hand. We've got some great people in the community that work on the front lines, we've got people that live and breathe these types of issues that we really need to look to, including those that are actively impacted by substance use. So it's really about engaging with everyone."

The motion asks that the report outlines what the strategy would look like, what options there are, and what would be required to move forward with it. The motion also requests that the report come back to council before the 2020 budget finalizations.

“It’s really preliminary steps so we have an idea of what type of resources would be required and what those options look like before we get to budget," explained McGregor. "It's really about understanding what our options are and getting some of that information back from administration then deciding what we need to do going forward and really try to get that lined up as a budget decision."

According to McGregor, the idea of a municipal-wide strategy has been discussed for a while in Chatham-Kent. Currently, there is no official plan in place on the municipality's end. Drug strategies have been implemented in several cities across Canada over the last few years including Hamilton and Vancouver. McGregor said he's hopeful that, if the strategy goes forward, Chatham-Kent will look at what models work in other municipalities.

"The questions that we're really trying to pose with this motion is how can the municipality work with everyone together, take a leadership approach and add some consistency to having a meaningful strategy moving forward," said McGregor.

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