The Waterloo Region Integrated Drugs Strategy (WRIDS) Steering Committee is made up of a passionate and dedicated group of individuals whose work spans the four pillars of Prevention, Harm Reduction, Recovery and Rehabilitation, and Enforcement and Justice.

Since 2012, the Steering Committee has been working to address issues of substance use and addiction, including overdose. At the core of the Steering Committees work is the understanding that problematic substance use is a complex community issue requiring comprehensive social determinants of health solutions, partnerships across multiple sectors, integrating of services and the involvement of people directly impacted by substance use and their communities.

The Steering Committee's work is supported by a Coordinator who provides support for the coordinating committees and work groups of the four pillars, develops and maintains partnerships and acts as a champion for the vision of the WRIDS.

Meet the Steering Committee Members

Cameron Dearlove

Cameron Dearlove is the Executive Director of Porchlight Counselling and Addiction Services.

The question I always ask myself is "Is it charity, or is it justice?" Through my work I seek to create opportunities, partnerships, programs, and supports through a community development approach, always reflecting on how we can be partners and advocates with the people and communities we serve. Through my work I hope to contribute towards a more just, equitable, and sustainable community, where people facing substance use challenges can access the supports they need when they need them.

Kylah Blair

Kylah Blair is the Director of Health and Wellness at Community Healthcaring Kitchener-Waterloo.

Community Healthcaring K-W provides innovative healthcaring for anyone facing barriers to health services, including people who are newcomers, refugees, experiencing homelessness or precarious housing and who are challenged by other social influences of health in the Kitchener-Waterloo region.

We believe in the right service at the right time and that no pillar can stand alone in the community, and we need to work together to ensure Safer and Healthier Waterloo Region.

Ruth Cameron

Check back soon for more about Ruth.

Eugene Fenton

Eugene Fenton is a Superintendent with the Waterloo Regional Police Service. He started his policing career in 2001 and has worked in Patrol, Detectives, Homicide, I.T., Intelligence, Professional Development and is now the Inspector overseeing the Intelligence Services Branch of the police service which includes the Drugs and Firearms Unit.



Kelly Grindrod

Check back soon for more about Kelly.

Kourteney King

Kourteney King is the Director of Peer & Community Development at Sanguen Health Centre's, Safer Supply Program. In their role as the Director of Peer & Community Development, Kourteney supported the development and implementation of Kitchener-Waterloo's first Safer Supply program. Over the past ten years, Kourteney has worked and learned extensively from people who use drugs across various harm reduction initiatives in both Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto. Kourteney brings a human-rights, social justice and health-equity lens to their work that aims to transform the way we deliver health care to people who use drugs in our communities. 

Debora Maynard

Debora Maynard is the Advanced Clinical Practice Leader for Addiction Services at House of Friendship. In my role I provide strategic leadership and direction to the Addiction Services programs, management team and direct service staff, with a focus on clinical practice, evidence based interventions and best practice in the treatment of substance use issues. I have more than 10 years experience working in the addiction and mental health sector in both a direct service and leadership capacity. I am excited to be working alongside a group of passionate and dedicated community partners to continue the work of addressing issues of substance use and addiction in our community grounded in social determinants of health solutions.

Sharlene Sedgwick-Walsh

Sharlene Sedgwick Walsh, Director Healthy Living & Foundational Standards. A member of the Region of Waterloo Public Health departments for the past 14 years and more recently involved in substance use and harm reduction work. My background includes experience in strategic planning, change management and social marketing/health promotion. I believe WRIDS has done some incredible work in the past and there is so much more to be done as a strategy and community collaborative. I look forward to actively supporting and participating in the WRIDS Steering Committee and related projects.

 Victoria Peters

Victoria Peters, Manager for IMPACT (Integrated Mobile Police and Crisis Team) and Mental Health & Justice Programs with Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington. Victoria has also provided leadership to CMHA WW’s Seniors Progam and Here 24/7 crisis teams. Victoria also spent over a decade as a police and detective constable, working with the Toronto Police Service. She has more than twenty years’ of combined experience in the helping field and is passionate about furthering conversations/discourse around creating safe and equitable access to supports for vulnerable populations.

Strategies under the Steering Committee

The Steering Committee works to connect the work of the four pillars. Communication is a key part of this work and includes projects and initiatives to help foster multi-sectoral partnerships and collaboration.

  • Website and Social Media Strategy – the website was developed in 2015 as a central repository of information about, and strategies to address, problematic substance use and its effects. Associated social media activities through the WRIDS twitter account (@DrugStrategyWR) highlight overdose alerts, local information, upcoming events and updates.
  • 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.

Previous Steering Committee Strategies:

  • Anti-stigma campaign – the WRIDS is working to improve the community's awareness of addiction and substance use issues through social media. In Spring 2018, a social media campaign was launched to address stigma associated with substance use using personal stories from people impacted by substance use in Waterloo Region.

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