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March 31, 2005
City calls for public input on drug strategy
Today Councillor Kyle Rae and Medical Officer of Health Dr. David McKeown
announced plans for a public consultation to gather input on a comprehensive
drug strategy for the City of Toronto.

“Our communities need a made-in-Toronto strategy that brings forward the best
approaches to reduce the harm associated with drug use,” said Councillor Rae.
“We want to hear from the people of Toronto and get their advice before making
recommendations to City Council.”

The drug strategy initiative is based on a four-pillar approach as directed by
City Council: prevention; harm reduction; treatment; and enforcement. Council
adopted the initiative in 2003 to link health and social service agencies,
police, community groups, school boards and others to create a focused approach
to dealing with drug use and drug users. The aim is to reduce the social,
economic and health costs associated with drug use in Toronto.

A research report outlining the challenges facing the City will be used as a
tool for consultation along with a list of ideas for action prepared by
community advisory committees. Four town hall meetings will be open to the
public and a series of focus group meetings with community agencies and experts
will be held during the next two months.

Dr. McKeown notes that important lessons can be learned from other
jurisdictions. “We hope to build on the best practices and best knowledge from
around the world to support individuals, families and communities affected by
substance use.”

The results of the community consultation will be included in a final report
with proposed actions to be presented to City Council in December. A City
Council reference group, with Councillor Rae as the chair, was appointed to
lead the initiative. Other members are Councillors Shelley Carroll, Frank Di
Giorgio, Joe Mihevc and Michael Thompson.

Public input can also be provided through an online survey at trategy.htm

Media contacts:
Gil Hardy
Toronto Public Health

Diane Chester
Toronto Public Health



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