Learning from Ontario’s municipal drug strategies: an implementation framework for reducing harm through coordinated prevention, enforcement, treatment, and housing

Anthony Piscitelli

Abstract


Since 2001, when Vancouver completed its integrated drug strategy, other Canadian municipalities have begun to explore their role in addressing addictions issues. This article reviews reports from ten municipal drug strategies written in the Canadian province of Ontario to develop recommendations for practitioners wishing to implement their own drug strategy. Note that this paper’s focus is on implementation, and it does not seek to evaluate the underlying clinical practices involved in such strategies. All published reports from 10 municipal drug strategies in Ontario released between 2005 and 2015 were read and analyzed using thematic analysis. Similarities are found between the different strategies approaches to data gathering, the vision statements, the mission statements, and the principles of service. Each municipality was also found to focus on four pillars: prevention, treatment, enforcement, and harm reduction. Some municipalities added an additional pillar: integration, sustaining relationships, or housing. These pillars were used to frame the strategies recommendations. Ten questions for municipalities to consider in their own drug strategy consultations are recommended.

Keywords


Drug strategies; municipalities; addictions issues

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