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Residents in the North Simcoe and Muskoka (NSM) Region Can Influence Changes to Services for Youth with Substance Use Problems
Residents in the North Simcoe and Muskoka (NSM) Region Can Influence Changes to Services for Youth with Substance Use Problems
Posted on 02/03/2020
Residents in the North Simcoe and Muskoka (NSM) Region Can Influence Changes to Services for Youth with Substance Use Problems

Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care, a regional specialty hospital providing an extensive range of mental health and addiction services, in partnership with other youth serving organizations, is announcing a study to improve access and services provided to youth struggling with substance use issues. This important community-based study will directly inform changes to treatment accessibility and availability in the North Simcoe/Muskoka (NSM) region. All members of the community, whether they are directly affected by problematic substance use among youth, or those who have an interest in the issue, are being asked to participate in a survey to have a say in how to handle this very pressing issue.

“Underfunding, geographic challenges, undersupplied services and lack of treatment services all stand in the way of NSM youth seeking treatment” says Susan Lalonde Rankin, Mental Health & Addiction System Coordinator. “We want to hear how people would like services to be designed so they are approachable and effective for youth and their families.”

An estimated 25% of youth engaged in binge drinking last month in rural areas and the percentage of students in Central Ontario who meet the criteria for a drug use problem is significantly higher for Central Ontario (18%) when compared to Ontario (14%) (source: Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey, 2017, CAMH p. 270). Admittance rates at facilities are also increasing, with treatment for some substances having doubled in the past few years (source: DATIS, Drug and Alcohol Treatment Information System). 

The Youth Substance Use Services Survey will ask questions relevant to all members of the community, including the extent to which people are aware of the treatment services available, should they ever need to recommend treatment to a loved one or friend.  The survey will also identify the barriers to accessing treatment and the types of treatment services that are needed, but not currently available, in the community.

“We need to hear from the entire community and continue dialogues and conversations. The survey and its results are one way to do that,” says Lalonde-Rankin.

The data collected will be used to develop a plan for substance use treatment services for youth in the Simcoe County and Muskoka regions. Waypoint, along with ten other organizations, is a member of the Central Ontario Regional Health Team for Specialized Populations, an Innovative Model under the Ontario government’s health system transformation plan. Reaching out to get input from the entire community is an example of the collaborative approach this group is taking to create better, more connected care.

Ms. Lalonde-Rankin is available for more specific discussions on the trends related to substance use in the NSM region and the need for improved treatment and service in the area. 

Starting February 10, all community members are invited to participate by visiting 

If you or someone you know is looking for help with a substance use problem, Call, CHAT or email ConnexOntario 1-866-531-2600. ConnexOntario is a free, confidential service available 24/7 that will tell you about the counselling services in your community.   

For more information contact: 
Susan Lalonde Rankin
Mental Health & Addiction System Coordinator, 
Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care
[email protected]
or 705- 549-3181, extension 2873

Partners in the Central Ontario Regional Health Team for Specialized Populations are: 
 * Alzheimer Society of Simcoe, 
 * Canadian Mental Health Association Simcoe County
 * County of Simcoe Long Term Care & Seniors Services, Health & Emergency services
 * Dr. Rob Meeder, Pediatrician
 * Mamaway Wiidokdaadwin Indigenous Interprofessional Primary Care Team
 * New Path Youth and Family Services
 * North Simcoe Muskoka Hospice Palliative Care Network
 * Patient/Client and Family Council
 * Pine River Institute
 * Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care including the Specialized Geriatrics Services (SGS)