Windsor Overdose Prevention Society logo. (courtesy Windsor OPS/Facebook)

An $18,000 boost to the Windsor Overdose Prevention Society will help the organization implement a new outreach program.

The grant came from the COVID-19 Emergency Support for Community Organizations Program which is delivered through the Canadian Red Cross and funded by the Government of Canada.

The organization says it is “ecstatic” about the opportunity which will allow for a new outreach program to deliver harm reduction supplies, hygiene products, overdose response training, peer support and meals.

This new program will replace the Windsor OPS’s drop-in program which was lost due to COVID-19. The organization says its goal is to reach 150 people but hopes to reach many more.

The organization has now hired founder Brandon Bailey and Tammy Drew as harm reduction peer workers as the Windsor OPS’s first paid employees.

 “I started Windsor OPS because as a person who uses substances I was tired of attending my friends’ funerals and wanted to make a change and saves the lives of people in my community,” Bailey said.

A news release from Windsor OPS says the pandemic has “exacerbated the overdose risk, the homelessness crisis, and the mental health crisis across Canada and in the Windsor community.” Through its programs, the organization aims to mitigate the crises and assist with community needs.