Get the Strategy
In 2005, some significant media attention was given to what was seen as a mounting crack cocaine problem in the City of Guelph. In response to this, in March of 2006, the County of Wellington Ontario Works office initiated two community forums to discuss the challenge of substance misuse in our community. At these forums, agency representatives and community members came together to consider how the harm and impact of substance abuse might be more effectively addressed. From these initial meeting, the Wellington Guelph Drug Strategy Committee (WGDSC) was formed.
In the fall of 2007, an Environmental Scan/Needs Assessment was undertaken to take a deeper look at the community’s perspectives. The findings of this assessment formed the foundation for the strategy development. It is important to recognize that all of the strategies outlined fall within one or more of the four pillars: Prevention, Treatment, Harm Reduction and Enforcement.
In October 2008, the strategies were presented to the Leadership Advisory Group (LAG), comprised of various community leaders. The LAG endorsed the strategies and subsequently supported the WGDSC in moving forward to the implementation stage. The strategies have also been endorsed by both Wellington County Council and Guelph City Council. Additionally, in December 2008, two community forums were held in Guelph and Fergus respectively, to update community members about the WGDSC’s progress, as well as to present the developed strategies and to receive feedback.
We are now well-rooted in our implementation of the strategies. Some will require significant funding, while others will require existing funds to be redirected. Some strategies require no funding, but rely upon philosophical changes in practice. In order for successful implementation, continued community partnership and collaboration is essential. Many times, the best-laid plans come to end at this juncture. However, if we wish to make a difference in the lives of the thousands of community members living in Guelph and Wellington County who are impacted by substance misuse, we must remain committed to the change that we have started.
Our Strategy was initially released in 2009, with a revised edition being approved and released by the WGDS Committee in December 2011.