Our Approach

PDS approaches all work from a collaborative leadership model based on the four pillars of prevention, harm reduction, enforcement, and treatment in order to effectively and actively work toward our mission, strive for equity, and improve the health, safety, and well-being of all members of our community. Through this approach, PDS is empowered with a unique ability to address issues and undertake projects that are outside of the scope of any one organization.

Our Story

The Peterborough Drug Strategy (PDS) was born in 2009 by four partnering organizations: Peterborough Public HealthPARN – Your Community AIDS Resource NetworkFour Counties Addiction Service Team, and Peterborough Police Service. These organizations were united in their view that collaboration around how addiction is addressed in our community is crucial to supporting the needs of individuals who use substances as well as their families and support people.

Substance use is identified by the community of Peterborough as a key area of concern. A comprehensive plan to reduce the negative effects of substance use is necessary to reduce fragmentation, limit duplication of services, and ensure community activities are well informed.

A comprehensive, well-balanced approach requires four pillars: prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and enforcement. Organizations and strategies representing these pillars work together with community members towards the goal of a safe, strong, and healthy City and County.

A drug strategy as an approach allows us to create a made-in-Peterborough strategy, based on our community’s needs, in order to reduce the harms associated with substance use on individuals, families, and communities.

The Peterborough Drug Strategy builds on existing expertise and personal experiences in Peterborough, while also incorporating best practices, research, and lessons learned from other cities in Canada and internationally. The strategy includes representation from all groups and addresses both legal and illegal drugs.

The drug strategy currently works towards raising awareness, reducing stigma, and engaging the community while moving ahead with select recommendations for action and mobilizing change.

The PDS Strategic Planning Framework was finalized in 2019 and was based on a consultation process that engaged stakeholders throughout the City and County. Based on the information that we gathered from our consultations, we defined our mission, approach, values, and four strategic focus areas. The plan includes recommendations for action and identifies pathways to improve prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and enforcement efforts in the community.

Based on our strategic plan, PDS has received funding and implemented a number of projects. See Our Work for more information on past and current projects.

Missions and Values

Our Mission

Using a collaborative approach, the Peterborough Drug Strategy is committed to the ongoing development and implementation of community-based initiatives that aim to reduce the harms related to substance use in the City and County of Peterborough.

Our Shared Values

PDS is committed to unity and preparedness to respond to current and emerging substance use needs in our community. Four core values guide and inform our collective work.

Recognizing that our work is complex and more effective when considered through an intersectional lens, we value collaboration. We are committed to building trusting and respectful relationships that allow us to be adaptable and responsive to emerging issues, while leading partnerships with a strategic voice that is united on key messages.

Acknowledging that greater impact is achieved when diverse experiences and perspectives participate in decision-making, we value meaningful inclusion of varied voices in the development, delivery, and evaluation of initiatives by those who are impacted by them.

Honouring the dignity, strengths, and rights of each individual, while striving for greater equity, we work from a person-centered framework and value respect for the choices of people, families, neighbourhoods, and communities. Drug use is value neutral and a person’s worth is neither diminished nor increased as a result of their drug use.

Knowing we are considered a trusted source for information on issues related to substance use in Peterborough, with a history of innovative approaches, we value accountability to our partners, funders, and the community. We are accountable to these groups by demonstrating our impact and considering a full range of evidence to support our initiatives.


The work of the PDS has been, and will continue to be, dependent on project funding and the commitment of Our Partners, thanks to whom much of Our Work is possible

Hand with a nalaxone kit on it

Get a Naloxone Kit

Did you know that you can acquire a free naloxone kit? If you, someone you know, or your workplace is in need of a free naloxone kit, you can locate an available kit near you.

Need Help?

Peterborough Public Health has put together a list of local resources and places to go for help related to substance use issues. Click the icon above to learn more.