Welcome to the Waterloo Region Integrated Drugs Strategy (WRIDS)

The WRIDS presents an opportunity to address problematic substance use across multiple sectors, amongst various populations and locales, throughout Waterloo Region.

The WRIDS VISION is to make Waterloo Region safer and healthier.

The WRIDS MISSION is to prevent, reduce or eliminate problematic substance use and its consequences.


  • Lead the collaborative in facilitating the implementation of recommendations contained within the Waterloo Region Integrated Drugs Strategy (2012).
  • Develop an overall implementation plan and process to assist in identifying recommendations that will be key priorities for implementation
  • Establish Coordinating Committees to address and support the implementing of recommendations

The Four Pillars

The 4 pillar approach to drug use is based on the following principles:

 The fifth principle is Integration.

Who is involved in the WRIDS? 

There are approximately 130 individuals from organizations, agencies and the community who are involved in the work of the WRIDS. Some of the agencies involved are listed below:

  • University of Waterloo
  • Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council
  • Towards Recovery/Ontario Addiction Treatment Centres
  • Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services
  • Probation and Parole
  • People with lived experience
  • House of Friendship
  • Waterloo Regional Police Services
  • Cambridge Shelter
  • Regional Pharmacists Association
  • Ray of Hope
  • Sanguen Health Centre
  • Waterloo Region District School Board
  • Waterloo Region Catholic School Board
  • OneROOF Youth Services

WRIDS Committee Structure 

The WRIDS is guided by a multi-sectoral steering committee and four coordinating committees which align with each of the four pillars. Learn more about the WRIDS committee structure

The Network Map

Check the network of participants in WRIDS in 2016 image. Each colour represents a different sector; each circle represents an individual involved in the Steering Committee, Coordinating Committee or a Work Group.

The History of the Drugs Strategy

In 2008, work began through a 26-member Task Force of the Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council in consultation with more than 300 citizens and service providers. In 2011 the Strategy was released. It draws on a framework that incorporates five approaches across 99 recommendations. The recommendations, spanning public education, health care, and government policy, are intended to have positive health, social, and financial outcomes.

Download the 2012 Waterloo Region Integrated Drugs Strategy.


Key Highlights

  • 2011/2012 – launch of the Waterloo Region Integrated Drugs Strategy document with 99 recommendations across the four pillars of Prevention, Harm Reduction, Rehabilitation and Recovery and Enforcement and Justice.
  • In 2015 the WRIDS launched an Overdose Monitoring, Alert and Response System for the Region of Waterloo as part of a community-based effort to respond to overdoses and tainted drugs in Waterloo Region.
  • In 2015 the WRIDS website and twitter account were launched to support community engagement.
  • In March 2016 the WRIDS assisted to develop a forum on support for people who use crystal methamphetamine. A similar workshop was offered in January 2018.
  • In 2016, the Steering Committee worked to develop a Collective Impact Framework and Theory of Change to guide evaluation activities.
  • In December 2016 the WRIDS held a Fentanyl Symposium to provide information to 350 service providers.
  • The Prevention Pillar synthesized prevention resources for youth in grades 4-6 with the cooperation of both School Boards in Waterloo Region (2016).
  • In 2017, the Harm Reduction Coordinating Committee received endorsement from Regional Council to enhance harm reduction programming including the exploration of supervised injection services (SIS). The same year, the committee launched a feasibility study related to SIS for Waterloo Region. Connections were made with over 4,500 community members to provide insight on need for SIS and how it could be integrated within existing services in Waterloo Region.
  • In 2017, the Needle Disposal work group launched a Needle Tracking System to estimate the extent of inappropriate disposal of harm reduction equipment in Waterloo Region.
  • In 2017, the Needle Disposal work group increased disposal options by installing 4 outdoor sharps disposal kiosks across Waterloo Region.
  • Since 2016 the Rehabilitation and Recovery Pillar has worked to plan and implement Rapid Access Addiction Medicine Clinics (RAAM) in Waterloo Region. Two RAAMs were opened in Kitchener and Cambridge in 2018.
  • In 2020, the WRIDS officially adopted a Statement in Support of 'Safe Supply'.
  • In 2020, the first Waterloo Region Integrated Drugs Strategy: 2020 Report to the Community was created. It provides an overview of the activities, highlights, and challenges that the WRIDS faced over 2020. 



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