This page highlights stories and initiatives of the Waterloo Region Integrated Drugs Strategy. Some of these stories highlight the lived experiences of people involved in the Drugs Strategy’s work.  Stories are organized by Pillar - Prevention, Harm Reduction, Rehabilitation and Recovery, and Enforcement and Justice.

 Prevention Stories
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Harm Reduction


Eventually Odette started to make connections through outreach and harm reduction programs. She met a Public Health Nurse named Kathy who made her feel like a person again and broke down some of the stigmas that she had faced — especially when dealing with health care. 

 Picture of Odette



“Harm reduction doesn’t mean we advocate drug use. We are not saying that it’s ok to use. Ultimately these are people who deserve to have a chance. When they are ready to kick the substance, they deserve to be healthy and free of other [preventable] diseases like Hep C and HIV. Letting someone become sick from needle sharing is just not an acceptable way to treat people.”

Picture of Rob










“People deserve to be healthy, regardless of their choices. With drug use there’s so much stigma attached.” Violet believes we can go a long way in reducing stigma if we just talk about it and understand each other’s concerns.

Picture of Violet

Recovery and Rehabilitation 


Marty is in a good place now and it’s not lost on him that in part he’s here because of the support he received when he was trying to recover. “People didn’t give up on me so I just try to be there for others and give them the same opportunity to change. We all have a lot to offer and just because we find ourselves in a bad place doesn’t mean that people should be quitting on us.”

Picture of Marty

Enforcement and Justice

Christine and Austin

Austin’s story even caught the attention of politicians and helped pass the Good Samaritan Act into law so that in an overdose situation, anyone who calls 911 will be granted immunity.

Picture of Austin

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