WINDSOR -- A large donation is allowing Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare to launch a new tool to help people overcome substance abuse addictions.

The Solcz Family Foundation presented a cheque for $350,000 on Wednesday.

It will allow Hôtel-Dieu to work with the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) to offer "Breaking Free™ Online. It's a virtual care solution to assist people with early intervention, prevention or rehab.

"This program will provide clients and their providers tools for self-directed treatment," said President and CEO Janice Kaffer. "This is not to say that we will rely solely on the clients directing their care, instead, this solution can and will be used in conjunction with clinical support."

"Breaking Free" uses electronic behaviour management programs, eliminating the need to attend in-person sessions.

"Substance use disorder has been a significant concern for the local community, so we've made it part of our focus to fund organizations who are leading initiatives to tackle this issue," said Kyrsten Solcz, executive director of the Solcz Foundation. "This virtual care solution will be transformative for our community and will positively impact lives."

Tool will be available in 2020 to clients of HDGH, with the roll out to local service providers afterwards.

"After the tool is successfully integrated at HDGH next April, we will bring in other community partners as early adopters," said Laurie Poole, vice president of clinical innovation at OTN.

The tool is being announced as the Windsor-Essex Community Opioid and Substance Strategy (WECOSS) issued a second alert due to an increase in the number of opioid-related Emergency Department visits in Windsor-Essex.

According to Public Health Ontario, there were 22 opioid-related deaths in Windsor-Essex in the first three months of 2019.

There were also 51 opioid-related deaths in 2018 in Windsor-Essex.