Drug use and abuse is viewed differently by advocates of prevention, treatment, harm reduction and enforcement. The City of Toronto asked ICA to bring fresh eyes to the situation by engaging hundreds of stakeholders including users themselves to create an innovative strategy. It was known up front that this would be a contentious initiative. At first: Advocates of the four strategies championed initiatives that on face value seemed incompatible with each other.
Our solution: A series of invitational and open public workshops were held across the city, with an anonymous survey to help quantify the results. A presentation on the four strategies was created to give all participants a common base of information. Large, open public conferences were held in four locations across the city to generate new and creative alternatives. Second: Workshops were held with health providers, government organizations and users for diverse perspectives. An open anonymous online survey with similar questions allowed individuals to give opinions that could be quantified. The result: A fifth strategy was added on neighbourhood involvement because neighbourhoods are the actual front line of drug use and abuse. The result of the consultation was unanimously approved by Toronto City Council.