Windsor

Federal health minister hears stigma is a problem in Windsor opioid crisis

Canada's health minister stepped foot in Windsor for a roundtable discussion on Windsor-Essex's opioid crisis Wednesday.

Ginette Petitpas Taylor stopped in Windsor for a roundtable on the issue of opioids in Windsor

A number of elected officials, community groups and police officers were present at the roundtable on opioids and mental health. (Flora Pan/CBC)

An anti-stigma campaign is in the works for addressing the opioid crisis — that's what Canada's Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said on Wednesday in Windsor, Ont. after a roundtable discussion.

It was the minister's first time in Windsor. At the table were a number of elected government officials and community agency representatives.

"They gave us a very good snapshot of the reality of the opioid crisis in the area here," said Petitpas Taylor, "We also heard loudly and clearly today that the area of stigma is an area that needs to be addressed as well."

She said the campaign's goal is to remove barriers for people in treatment access, saying stigma is "one of the major barriers" that people face when they seek services.

Ginette Petitpas Taylor says her department is working to remove barriers for people who want to access treatment for addictions. 0:20

Mayor of Windsor Drew Dilkens was at the discussion and said the city needs more timely access to addiction treatment.

When it comes to whether Windsorites will see a supervised injection site in the near future, the mayor did not give a concrete answer and said they're waiting for the province's review.

Petitpas Taylor says her department is working on an anti-stigma campaign to remove barriers for people who want to access treatment. (Flora Pan/CBC)

'Crystal meth is a problem'

Petitpas Taylor said what she heard at the roundtable was very similar to other municipalities she's visited.

Also at the round table were two members of parliament from London — the nearest Liberals to Windsor-Essex — London West MP Kate Young echoed the minister's sentiment.

"I think we've heard that crystal meth is a problem on both the streets of London and the streets of Windsor," she said.

"We talk about Windsor issues quite often because issues that affect people in Windsor also affect people in London."

Minister Petitpas Taylor couldn't give a specific roll-out time for the anti-stigma campaign, but mentioned there will be a second national symposium on opioids held in Toronto in September.