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New Oxford County website provides addiction supports

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To help residents struggling with addiction, Oxford County has launched a new website designed as a portal to help people navigate what can be a complex system of supports.

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Developed as part of the Oxford County Community Drug and Alcohol Strategy, the website – www.occdas.ca — is designed to improve access to programs and services available in the region to help people with problematic substance use, officials said.

“In our region, as in many other parts of Ontario, we have witnessed exacerbated health disparities for people who use substances over the past two years,” said Peter Heywood, co-chair of the Oxford County strategy. “We need to meet people where they are by helping to raise awareness of the services and initiatives available in Oxford to support overall substance use health.”

The website will be updated regularly with new insiders, resources and research, as well as information related to substance use in Oxford County. This online portal will also be part of a “more robust” online presence planned for the strategy, which will include a member newsletter and social media.

The Oxford County Community Drug and Alcohol Strategy includes community agencies and community members with lived experience. The vision of the strategy is based on a “community working together to help prevent and reduce problematic substance use and the harms related to problematic substance use in the community”.

Although the strategy was developed in response to the opioid epidemic that has become a growing problem in Canada, it also addresses other addictions, including alcohol and illicit drugs.

The Oxford County strategy includes 89 action items that address substance abuse in Oxford County that have been “informed by a review of local data, evidence-based practices and extensive community consultation”, said officials said. This approach made it possible to identify the four pillars of the strategy: prevention; treatment; harm reduction; and community justice and safety

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