The provincial government has announced nearly half a million dollars in funding to help fight the opioid crisis in Windsor-Essex.

The Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) is providing $475,000 to the Windsor Essex Community Health Centre, Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare and the Victorian Order of Nurses.

The LHIN says the investment will be able to help support more people living with addiction by expanding access to withdrawal management and harm reduction services in the community.

HDGH will use its share of the funding to increase the number of outreach withdrawal management staff.

“This investment being made by the Erie St. Clair LHIN will allow Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare to continue to improve access to care and save the lives of those struggling with chemical or substance use” says Janice Kaffer, the CEO of Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare.

The WECHC will hire more harm reduction outreach workers and the VON will use its funding to expand a chronic pain program.

"The funding will provide us with the capacity to provide outreach workers that will engage with individuals and groups at WECHC sites and other community locations to provide education and prevention information, harm reduction strategies, and support for those seeking treatment and recovery in the community”  says Patrick Brown, the WECHC Executive Director.

“The current opioid crisis is one of the most serious issues facing our communities,” says VON Regional Executive Director Andrew Ward. “The VON is thankful to the Erie St Clair LHIN for the opportunity to be a part of the innovative and collaborative work required to find solutions for our communities.”

HDGH will receive $200,000 of the funding while $175,000 will go to the WECHC  and the VON will get $100,000.

Chatham-Kent will also receive $80,000 to help offer support to people living with addiction.

“The devastating impact of opioid use disorder and overdose has reached every community in Ontario, and crosses all demographics,” says Health Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins. “We are continuing to strengthen our strategy and increase harm reduction, addiction treatment and other supports. It is through this collaborative, evidence-based and comprehensive approach that we will be able to effectively address this crisis and save lives.”

“The opioid crisis is reaching into our communities and impacting people from all walks of life” says Ralph Ganter, the CEO of the Erie St. Clair LHIN.

“The Erie St. Clair LHIN is dedicated to rolling out solutions that meet local withdrawal management service needs,” adds Ganter. “Our investment is designed to make a difference on the front-line, where we are seeing the greatest opportunity for impact.”