As an opioid epidemic tightens its grip on the area local health officials are fighting back.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has released its strategy to deal with opioid addiction and overdoses. Health Unit officials say the final strategy is now vital as opioid-related deaths reportedly jumped by 70 per cent in 2017. The Health Unit has partnered with the OPP, local paramedics and other health and emergency officials to build this strategy for over a year. Injury and Substance Misuse Prevention Program Manager Janice Greco says the committee focused on the most important factors related to lowering the opioid addiction and overdose problems in the area.

Greco says this work has already translated into a few key programs.

The Health Unit has also created a website that tracks weekly trends of opioid-related visits to emergency rooms across the region.

Finally, Greco says stigma is another big issue the health unit wants to tackle.

You can find more details on this new strategy here.

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