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Table 2 Themes (by alphabetical order), Priority Needs and Related Supports, and Exemplar Quotes

From: Supporting community overdose response planning in Ontario, Canada: Findings from a situational assessment




Access, use, and communicate data and information. We use the term “data” to mean the collection and presentation of numbers and unit values. By information, we mean the analysis and presentation of data, including evaluation

Priority needs

· Collecting and sharing data

· Accessing different sources of local data

· Analysing and interpreting data

· Using data and information to make decisions and measure the success of plans

· Communicating data and information (e.g., alerts, emerging trends)

Related supports

· Provincial coordination and technical assistance in data collection, analysis/interpretation, surveillance, approaches to early warning systems, and communicating data and information

Exemplar quotes

“So we want to track things, we want to show that what we're doing is making a difference and have our indicators but when we ask our partners for data it's like it's not a priority to them and they don't know where to get it.” (KI6)

“We still don’t have access to local emergency medical services (EMS) data, even though we’ve been working on a data sharing agreement with them for about a year and a half now.” (FG1)

“So, of course, the Ministry and ODPRN and PHO have increased sort of data availability, opioid-related data access and different types of data that have supported us in identifying priority populations or areas for action. However, sometimes it's difficult to really prioritize, especially for a community like us that experiences quite a high burden in many areas of morbidity and mortality for opioids. So prioritizing, you know, which information requires the most urgent action and then bringing it into the community coalition. How to kind of show the right community partners and get their support in actually addressing them, who needs to be engaged in certain priorities.” (FG1)




Access, use, and communicate evidence and best practice. We use the term evidence to refer to information that is gathered for research purposes, contextualized, and used to support a practice, intervention, etc [45].

Priority needs

· Developing knowledge of topics related to overdose response

· Accessing research evidence and best practice

· Using evidence to inform decision-making and practice

· Communicating evidence

Related supports

· Offering training supports

· Facilitating access to evidence, common frameworks, e-learning modules, and other tools through a centralised repository

· Facilitating consultations and connections to individuals and groups involved in research and practice

Exemplar quotes

“..So much is being pumped out [laughs] as far as, you know, what publications, lessons learned, you know, all of the above. What we normally find out is it does not always trickle down to the community where it needs to.” (KI2)

“…which interventions were most effective and which ones might be considered favorable by funding organisations; so yeah we ended up on the internet looking at different things and trying to compare evidence but it was really hard to rank different interventions in terms of their evidence base. So I think this would really help with the evidence base” (KI3)

“That information is kind of more easily accessible and available rather than having to do it—you know each Public Health Unit or each Drug Strategy Coordinator – on their own. Definitely there’s benefits to ensuring that there’s – you know there’s somewhere we can turn to – like a trusted source for quality information on effective interventions.” (FG1)




Address the factors that affect the implementation of plans

Priority needs

· Planning strategically

· Using consistent approaches to guide development, implementation, and evaluation of plans

· Adapting to changing community context

· Addressing barriers

Related supports

· Facilitating access to standardised tools, templates, and guides

· Facilitating consultation, mentorship, and peer support to other community overdose response plans

Exemplar quotes

“…people have tended to jump to oh, we’ve been doing this and it’s working so we’re getting money and we’re going to keep doing this, you know, without taking a step back and looking at the data and looking at where we need to build capacity before they … you know, so I think the strategic planning process is really important.”(KI7)

“…a lot of the organizations are overtaxed to it’s very difficult if you’re trying to bring a group of people together to have them have the time and resources available for this work, I know people are asked to sit on committees all over the place.”(KI3)

“We’re finding since the development of plan and the implementation of a couple of related working groups is that there’s been a pretty significant shift in focus for the drug strategies based on some other also very pressing issues substance use-related largely around crystal meth.” (FG3)




Engage, work together, and build trusting partnerships with diverse groups

Priority needs

· Partnerships → identifying partners, building partnerships, navigating, and maintaining partnerships

· Collaboration → doing collective and coordinated work

· Engagement → ongoing engagement with new sectors, meaningful engagement of people who use drugs, Indigenous communities, and other communities experiencing oppression

Related supports

· Facilitating access to tools for partnership planning and community engagement and resources for developing common visions, goals, and language with community partners

· Providing opportunities to connect with diverse groups through online platforms (e.g., online meetings, workshops)

Exemplar quotes

“I think sometimes as the longevity, whether the drug strategy or the coordinator for the local action plan has been around for some time and it's the ability to maintain relationships. And on the flip side it's once you actually get inroads with some of your community partners and have developed strong relationships, one of the challenges is if they leave” (FG2)

“These are groups that historically don’t work with each other. And I think there was a lot of misunderstanding as to what the specific roles of each of the individuals were and really what programming was going on in the public safety world and the public health world and how that can be overlapped.” (KI4)

“I think the biggest need is to try and make sure that decisions that are ultimately affecting people who use drugs and not being made without their voice at the table or in the decision-making process.” (KI5)