Ontario is unique for having a network of multi-sectoral community-based drug strategies attempting to serve more than 160
municipalities and First Nations. Using an integrated and collaborative approach that aims to address all three levels of
prevention, such strategies offer a promising pathway to reducing the burden of the opioid crisis that has posed immense
challengesfor all levels of government. The Municipal Drug Strategy Coordinators’ Network of Ontario (MDSCNO), a voluntary
network of individuals who coordinate integrated municipal or regionally-based drug strategies , has created cross-learning,
yet there is a very wide range of practice across the province. We will highlight the foundational aspects of community-based
drug strategies, their advantages and disadvantages, and assess the opportunities and challenges for greater government
involvement to providing an urgent, proportional and collaborative response to the opioid crisis. We will outline the
parameters for evaluating municipal drug strategies and improving their design and implementation.
By the end of this session, participants will be able to:
• Describe the foundational elements of community-based drug strategies
• Assess the challenges and potential opportunities of community-based drug strategies
• Analyze drug strategy design so as to identify potential strengths and weaknesses
• Better understand the potential effects of the opioid crisis on the work of community-based drug strategies
Presenters: Michael Parkinson and Robert Schwartz
Michael Parkinson is a drug strategy specialist and community engagement coordinator with the Waterloo Region Crime Prevention
Council (WRCPC). The WRCPC first identified the bootleg fentanyls as an additional threat to public health and safety in 2008,
led the development of a regional drugs strategy and co-founded the MDSCNO with Toronto Public Health a decade ago.
Robert Schwartz is Professor, Institue of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, Dalla Lana School of Public Health,
University of Toronto; Executive Director, Ontario Tobacco Research Unit; Head Strategy Design and Evaluation Initiative;
Senior Scientist, CAMH; Immediate Past Editor-in-Chief, Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation
The opinions expressed by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies or views of Public Health Ontario, nor does the mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by Public Health Ontario.
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Public Health Ontario is committed to complying with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). If you require accommodations to participate in this event, please contact 647-260-7100