City of Toronto releases comprehensive drug strategy
The City of Toronto released "The Toronto Drug Strategy: A comprehensive approach to alcohol and other drug issues in the City of Toronto" at a press conference held Friday, October 14th,at Toronto City Hall. (The full report, backgrounder and fact sheets are available at: www.toronto.ca/health/drugstrategy. The news release is also available on this site.)
Gail Czukar, Executive Vice President, Policy, Education and Health Promotion and General Counsel joined a panel consisting of Toronto Councillor Kyle Rae, Dr. David McKeown, Medical Officer of Health for the City of Toronto, and Deputy Chief Anthony Warr of the Toronto Police Service to introduce the report and answer questions from the media.
The report sets out a drug strategy that will allow for a comprehensive and co-ordinated approach to substance use in the city of Toronto and is the product of a collective Toronto effort. The strategy takes into consideration both public health and public order interests. Approximately 40 people were brought together to develop this drug strategy, led by Toronto Public Health. The Advisory Committee was made up of a council reference group of city councillors, a strategic management team (which included CAMH staff), and a community reference group. CAMH has been a full and active partner in the development of the strategy.
"As an organization that provides a broad range of treatment and prevention services to those affected by substance use and/or mental illness - much of these in partnership with community based services - we welcome a comprehensive Drug Strategy that has been based on the four key areas of prevention, harm reduction, treatment and enforcement," says Gail Czukar.
Over 60 recommendations for action have been made in the report and are broad enough to respond to all substances. The report's key recommendation calls for the formation of an Implementation Committee to oversee the next steps of the strategy.
"We recognize," says Ms.Czukar, "that this is an ambitious, multi-dimensional and long-range strategy that will need to roll out over time. We plan to continue in our role as an advocate for more investment in all areas from all levels of government and are looking forward to working with all of our partners and the City to assist in the implementation of the strategy."
The resulting strategy will allow for better co-ordination and co-operation across the systems needed to address substance use issues and will clarify the roles and responsibilities of those involved through those systems - health, social services, employment, education and criminal justice.