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

Christiane Sadeler

Since its inception in 1995, Christiane Sadeler has been the Executive Director of the Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council  which facilitated the development of the WRIDS. Christiane came to prevention work after years of working in human services with diverse populations. During that time Christiane realized that childhoods that are characterized by neglect and abuse are often met with community silence which has motivated her to amplify voices from the margins whenever possible.  Addiction and crime and just two possible outcomes from people living in distance to opportunity and missing sound human connection. Outside of work Christiane can be found hiking and canoeing or in more wintery times hiding behind a good book cover.  

picture of Christiane Sadeler

Craig Ambrose 

Inspector Craig Ambrose was born and raised in Waterloo Region and has been with the Police Service almost 29 years.  He has worked primarily in criminal investigations starting out in the Drug Branch early in his career. From his early dealings he recognized that addictions weren’t a life choice and that there were better alternatives to deal with individuals than criminal investigations and incarceration. He has been involved with the Drugs Strategy since the initial planning meetings and continues to be involved with the Enforcement and Justice and Steering Committees.

picture of Craig Ambrose

Grace Bermingham

Grace Bermingham is the Manager of Harm Reduction for the Region of Waterloo Public Health. She is co-chair of the WRIDS Harm Reduction Coordinating Committee and also chairs the Supervised Consumption Services Feasibility Study Work Group and the Harm Reduction Disposal Work Group.

Picture Grace Bermingham

Jonathan Mall

Jonathan Mall is the Chair of the WRIDS Prevention Coordinating Committee. He started working in Public Health in 2000 as a Health Promoter and has been a manager since 2006. Currently, he is managing the Youth and Young Adult Health team in the Healthy Living Division at the Region of Waterloo Public Health. In this role, the topics that he is responsible for include; cannabis, tobacco, vaping and alcohol prevention, preconception health and positive parenting.

picture of Jonathan Mall

Lindsay Sprague

Lindsay has been with the WRIDS since July 2016. In her role she loves working with the various community partners working on addiction and substance use issues. Lindsay has a passion for community development and enjoys co-chairing the OMARS and Pregnancy, Breastfeeding and Substance Use Work Groups.

Picture Lindsay Sprague

Marian Best

Marian is the addiction programming director with the Cambridge Shelter Corporation and Simcoe House. Marian is a long time resident of Cambridge and is passionate about providing support to people living with addiction. Marian is the co-chair of the Recovery and Rehabilitation Coordinating Committee. 

Picture of Marian Best

Pam McIntosh

Pam McIntosh has been involved in WRIDS work since it’s inception.  Currently she is the co-chair of the WRIDS Steering Committee and the Recovery and Rehabilitation Pillar. Pam has worked in the addiction treatment field for over 30 years and is passionate about taking an integrated and multi prong approach to addressing substance use in our community.

picture of Pam McIntosh

 

Rohan Thompson

Rohan Thompson is the Communications and Community Engagement Manager with the Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council. Rohan has an extensive history and experience working in community, community engagement, working with youth, program development and implementation. Rohan is also an avid sports fan and is an assistant coach with the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s football team.

Stephen Gross 

Stephen Gross is Director of Community Programs and Engagement at the Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre and has been with the Centre since 2002.  He is currently the Co Chair of the Steering Committee and Co Chair of the Harm Reduction Pillar Committee. Stephen was ordained a Lutheran pastor in 1986 and continues to be active on a part time basis.  He has worked in health care, corrections and addictions services over his career. 

picture of Stephen Gross

Victoria Peters

Victoria is the current manager of CMHA’s IMPACT and Mental Health & Justice teams. She has a background in law enforcement, having worked as a police constable with the Toronto Police Service for eleven years. In 2013 she obtained a Master of Social Work degree from Wilfrid Laurier University. Victoria has extensive clinical experience in the field of geriatric mental health and addictions.

Picture of Victoria Peters

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.
  • 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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