No one pillar can independently address the issues associated with problematic substance use. Many of substance use-related issues cross-over between pillars. The solutions to problematic substance use involve collaborative action by all pillars.

The four pillar approach of the WRIDS is supported by a 5th pillar – Integration. Integration is essential to the four pillar approach as a means to move beyond silos and sectors where all community members can create change.

The Waterloo Region Integrated Drugs Strategy Steering Committee and the Coordinator support Integration and tie the strategy together at the intersection of services, programs, policies and work that crosses the four pillar committees.

Examples of strategies in the Integration Pillar

  • Waterloo Region Integrated Drug Strategy Website and Social Media Strategy . The WRIDS website was developed in 2015 as a repository for information about and strategies to address problematic substance use. Social media activities communicate and highlight local information, upcoming events and updates in Waterloo Region. Overdose Alerts are also issued through the website and social media (twitter).
  • Overdose Monitoring Alert and Response System (OMARS). OMARS is a project of the WRIDS to alert the community to urgent overdose information and monitor fatal and non-fatal overdose trends over time. Waterloo Regional Police Services, Region of Waterloo Paramedic Services, Region of Waterloo Public Health, Sanguen Health Centre, and St. John's Kitchen partner in this initiative.
  • Anti-Stigma Communication Campaign . A series of short, interview-style videos were released in August 2018 to provide more context and understanding about the opioid crisis in Waterloo Region. The WRIDS worked in collaboration with community partners to develop the public service announcements (PSAs). The PSAs included perspectives from local partners and individuals with lived experience of drug use. The videos highlight community collaboration and aim to bring more understanding and compassion to the issue.

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