Brantford-Brant Drugs Strategy Coordinating Committee Advances Vital Initiatives in Q1

Published on: May 8, 2024

May 8, 2024

Brantford-Brant Drugs Strategy Coordinating Committee Advances Vital Initiatives in Q1

BRANTFORD, ONT. – Earlier this year the Brantford-Brant Community Drug Strategy released its 2024 Action Plan, outlining its initiatives and strategies to address substance use and addiction within the community. Today, the Committee is proud to announce significant progress in its mission to address substance use issues in the community during the first quarter of 2024.

Expanding access to harm reduction supplies in the County of Brant is one of the Drugs Strategy’s goals for 2024. In Q1, the Brant County Health Unit (BCHU) worked with the County of Brant Public Library to launch naloxone distribution at all their branches. Starting in late December 2023, this initiative marks an important expansion of naloxone access beyond Brantford, encompassing branches in Burford, Glen Morris, Paris, Scotland-Oakland, and St. George. This effort aims to significantly enhance overdose response capabilities across our communities.

In addition to expanding naloxone access, the Committee has spearheaded innovative drug checking pilot programs aimed at harm reduction and overdose prevention. In 2023, the AIDS Network, SOAR Community Services (formerly St. Leonard’s Community Services), the Brantford Public Library, and BCHU initiated a pilot project for fentanyl test strips, with BCHU completing the project evaluation in Q1 of 2024. A xylazine test strip pilot will launch in Q2, underscoring the Committee’s commitment to exploring innovative strategies to address emerging substance use trends. Xylazine is a non-opioid veterinary tranquillizer that has been found contaminating the opioid supply and may increase risk of overdose.

Addressing the stigma surrounding substance use disorders also remains a top priority for the Committee. Significant strides have been made in this area through the anti-stigma education project, with the Brant County Health Unit (BCHU) playing a pivotal role as the pilot site. All BCHU staff received initial training in March, laying the foundation for broader community engagement and awareness efforts.

The introduction of the Outreach Community Midwifery Program by the Grand River Community Health Centre (GRCHC) underscores the Committee’s commitment to delivering holistic support services to vulnerable populations. The objective of this program is to bridge gaps in maternal and newborn care for individuals facing substance use challenges.

The Brantford-Brant Drugs Strategy Coordinating Committee remains committed to fostering collaboration and innovation in addressing substance use issues. These recent accomplishments demonstrate the collective dedication of all contributing organizations towards building a healthier, safer community.