Substance abuse – developing local strategies

December 1, 2008


It is estimated that the cost of substance abuse in Ontario in 2002 was $14.3 billion, or $1,185 for every man, woman and child. If we apply this data to the City of Guelph and County of Wellington, the cost to our communities would be approximately $240 million. Of course, these are only the costs in financial terms – accounting for enforcement costs, health care costs, and productivity losses. The human costs of drug and alcohol abuse for individuals, families and communities are not easily measured, but certainly are devastating.

Over the past year, a group of professionals from the social service and health care sectors has come together with the goal of developing a coordinated approach to the problem of drug and alcohol abuse in our community. The group – called the Guelph-Wellington Substance Abuse Strategy Committee – has developed a number of recommendations, and now they are inviting feedback at 2 community forums.

  • The first one is tomorrow, December 2, in Fergus at the Centre Wellington Community Sportsplex from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  •  The second is on Wednesday, December 3 in Guelph at the Guelph Youth Music Centre from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

There is no charge to attend the forums, but registration is required – please call 519-821-8833 ext.351.

The members of the Committee have done a tremendous amount of work over the past year on this difficult problem. Their work is supported by a broad range of community leaders representing Police, school boards, public health, and local government.


Update: Here is the Substance Abuse Strategy Committee’s Needs Assessment report. It will form the basis of the Committee’s recommendations on strategies, which are expected in February.  

Substance Abuse Strategy Committee Needs Assessment

About Karen Farbridge

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4 Comments on “Substance abuse – developing local strategies”

  1. Mike Says:

    I have suffered form alcoholism and prescription drug addiction for 15 years. Now that I am clean I have published my story is a book called Constant Cravings: One Man’s True Story of His Struggle With Prescription Drug Addiction. My hope for this book is that it will help addicts and alcoholics and their families as much as writing it helped me.

    It is avaliable at

  2. Richard Says:

    I hope the committee looked at the great resources and research from the Search Institute and the Healthy Communities/Healthy Youth initiatives.

  3. Bruce Voss Says:

    What specific strategies are scheduled for funding and implementation? What are the details?

    i.e. “number of recommendations” – what are they?

    What about discussion of logical policy on substance abuse, rather than politically popular policy?

    We need some radical changes nationally in health care and enforcement when it comes to substance abuse (addiction).

    Controlled access to free drugs to take use off the streets and eliminate trafficking, petty crime, violent crime and prostitution.

    A safe place for users to use – an interface with the user and heath care / treatment system.

    Political socialization policy to change the mindset of the Canadian citizen on the disease of addiction and it’s HUGE impact on our society in human and economic terms.

    Enforcement budgets can be slashed and health care budgets increased.

    Organized crime can be dealt a death blow by moving the control of drugs that are now illegal from the syndicates and independent drug dealers to the government.

    Addiction Care, Health Care, NOT band-aid fixes like street level enforcement and “management” that victimizes sick people and guarantees a continual cycle of illegal drug trafficking (giving huge sums of $$$ to crime syndicates, and off shore suppliers) crime, violence, and abuse of a marginalized portion of society.

    WAKE UP AND DO WHAT MAKES SENSE!! (NOT necessarily what gets you elected).

    Oh yeah, and publicize these forums better… Heather the STC Alumni needs to know about this stuff!!!!

  4. ksulliva Says:

    Hi Bruce,

    The Committee’s strategy report will be finalized in February, and we will post it then. It will have details on all the recommended strategies.

    The Committee has done an Environmental Scan/ Needs Assessment, which identifies substance abuse issues in our community. This was the starting point for the committee to develop their recommendations. I’ve added the Environmental Scan document to the mayor’s post.

    Hope this helps.


    Kate Sullivan
    Mayor’s Office

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