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For Immediate Release
June 29, 2022 | 12:30 pm | Windsor and Essex County 


This past weekend, 363 free naloxone kits were distributed to the congregations at a number of places of worship across Windsor and Essex County. Individuals who received a kit also received education on how to administer naloxone and how to identify an opioid-related overdose. The kits themselves include two doses of naloxone nasal spray, which can temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. In addition to the seven places of worship distributing kits during 12 independent services, an additional 14 faith leaders shared information on opioids and naloxone with their congregations in preparation for distribution in the future.

The timely distribution of these kits is particularly important given yesterday’s Alert from the Windsor-Essex Community Opioid and Substance Strategy which described an elevated number of deaths related to substance use and overdose in our region in recent weeks. For the weeks of June 6-12 and June 13-19, there were five suspected drug-related deaths each week. For context, there were 61 opioid overdose-related deaths in all of 2021.

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) led the distribution initiative and was pleased to have distributed naloxone kits to residents from diverse backgrounds and faiths, according to Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, “Opioid overdoses and deaths affect people from all religious and cultural communities. It affects people of all income levels. It is important that all community members in Windsor-Essex understand the scope of this issue and what each of them can do as individuals to prevent overdose and death. Each of us can do something by obtaining a naloxone kit for our household.” In addition to the targeted distribution at local churches, mosques, and synagogues this past and upcoming weekends, naloxone kits can be obtained for free at most local pharmacies and through a number of community agencies free of charge.

The commitment of the participating faith communities and their leaders, as well as the community partners who assisted with the distribution of naloxone kits was essential to the successful distribution this past weekend, according to Dr. Nesathurai, “To our faith leaders, the Canadian Mental Health Association (Windsor-Essex County Branch), Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, Essex-Windsor EMS, Family Services Windsor-Essex, and Windsor Police Service, we thank you for your partnership.”

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