Update On Simcoe Muskoka Opioid Strategy Successes And Challenges In Crisis


Results from the first year of a multi-sector effort to reduce opioid deaths and harms in Simcoe and Muskoka are reported in an update prepared by members of the Simcoe Muskoka Opioid Strategy.

“While there is much more to be done, the SMOS 2018 Status Update demonstrates significant achievements that have been made to date across our region,” says Dr. Lisa Simon, SMOS co-chair and Associate Medical Officer of Health, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

SMOS is a cross-sector collaboration of community organizations who have come together to do work on the complex and pressing issue of opioid misuse. The Simcoe Muskoka region has been heavily impacted by this crisis. Preliminary data for 2018 indicates that the number of emergency visits grew further from 2017. However, it is promising that preliminary data on opioid deaths for January through September 2018 indicates a likely stabilizing of deaths.

The SMOS 2018 Status Update is available at preventod.ca

The update reflects progress, efforts, successes, and challenges to the end of December 2018 related to the SMOS Action Plan for Our Communities, launched in 2018. The Action Plan uses five Pillars: Prevention; Treatment/Clinical Practice; Harm Reduction; Enforcement and Emergency Management. This comprehensive approach is supported by the foundational pillars of Lived Experience and Data & Evaluation.

The 2018 Status Update presents activities in the five action pillars relative to their associated goals. A SMOS Scorecard is presented in the appendix.

Highlights of the year’s achievements include:

  • 132 health professionals trained in treatment of opioid use disorders
  • More than 7,000 Naloxone kits distributed
  • 89 people completed the Lived Experience Survey
  • Three new Needle Exchange Sites which increased access to safe supplies
  • More than 8,600 views of the website PreventOD.ca

In parallel with the development of the SMOS Action Plan, the Aboriginal Health Circle undertook community consultations which resulted in the development of an Indigenous Led Opioid Strategy and Action Plan for North Simcoe Muskoka, launched in May 2018. In fall 2018, formal liaison roles were established between the Aboriginal Health Circle and SMOS as a mechanism for collaborative implementation of the respective action plans.

“The roots of addiction run deep, and we know that reaching upstream causes will require sustained efforts over years, and generations, to make meaningful impact on the lives and health of our family members, friends, and neighbours,” says Dr. Rebecca Van Iersel, VP Clinical of NSM LHIN, and SMOS co-chair.


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