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Community Panel: Dual Crisis

September 24, 2020 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

By donation
A blue and purple background with black and blue text: Dual Crisis - Opioid Use in a Pandemic Era Community Panel - Sept 24, 7 pm

We invite you to join us on September 24 for a virtual panel discussion with three local public health and harm reduction professionals: Dual Crisis – Opioid Use in a Pandemic Era.

It’s an issue that is ever-changing in our community. In a recent interview with Mike Farwell of 570 News, when asked how COVID-19 has impacted overdose prevention efforts, Waterloo Region Integrated Drug Strategy coordinator, Joanna Han, shared:

“It’s kind of a dual crisis that’s happening right now (…) we know that preliminary data from 2020 shows a lot of communities are experiencing increases in opioid overdose death and an increasingly toxic drug supply all while there are still active cases of COVID.”

The panelists will talk about how we can stay educated and support others in our community, share risk factors and how to support someone who might be struggling, and update us around how local organizations adapted to maintain services post-COVID.

The panel will be moderated by SVP Partner Amanda Stevens, and will include time for audince questions. Admission is by donation, with proceeds going to local harm reduction charities.

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Grace Bermingham has worked for over 18 years with the Region of Waterloo Public Health, and is currently the Manager of Harm Reduction. The Needle Syringe (or exchange) Program, the sharps disposal program, and the Naloxone Distribution Program are mandated through this program. Grace’s team also led the work in the community to establish a case for the region’s first supervised consumption site. Grace is the co-chair of the Harm Reduction pillar of the Waterloo Region Integrated Drugs Strategy. Grace is a mom to two teenagers and calls Kitchener home.


Masked brunette man (Robert Crossan)

Robert Crossan is a career paramedic in Waterloo Region. He spent eight years as a Primary Care Paramedic after graduating from the Ambulance Program at Centennial College in 1990. The next 16 years were spent as an Advanced Care Paramedic after graduatin from the Michener Institute ACP program in 1998. In 2011, he received a Bachelors Degree in Health Sciences from Charles Sturt University in Australia, and has spent the last seven years as Deputy Chief. Since the emergence of widespread Fentanyl in Waterloo Region, Rob has worked closely with Public Health, WRIDS, and all of our partners to try to reduce the harm that opiate use brings with it.


Violet Umanetz has been with Sanguen Health Centre since April 2011. In October of 2019, she joyfully took on the task of managing the day-to-day operations of Kitchener’s Consumption and Treatment Services. Violet believes everyone in our community deserves to be safe, healthy, and happy – including people who take drugs. She also believes that people are the experts on themselves, and strives to be nonjudgmental, honest, and open, and to learn from the people around her.



Smiling brunette woman (Amanda)Amanda Stevens is a proud newer member of SVP Waterloo Region. She is a Registered Physiotherapist, currently working in Waterloo. She initially developed an interest in the opioid crisis when treating patients with persistent pain. Amanda lives just outside Waterloo Region with her young family.





SVP Waterloo Region