Barrie, opioid

Addiction Isn’t 9-5

Addiction isn’t 9-5

As you may already know, I am fighting hard (with many amazing people) to tackle the opioid crisis in Barrie. I have had the privilege to work alongside many talented and dedicated doctors and specialists. I have sat at boardroom tables and asked questions…and even more questions. I want the answers to this crisis so bad, and I know that it will take an army of people to solve it. And members of this army include people with lived experience with addiction. I don’t see many of these people when I am in boardrooms, and I think that THIS is a critical missing piece to the crisis puzzle.

One day, while sitting at said boardroom table with doctors and specialists, I asked why the Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM) clinics are only open two hours…that’s correct, I said TWO hours a day for drop in? And then only 9-5 for appointments? You see, I am one of those lived experience individuals. I am a recovered addict and I can tell you with 100 % certainty that my addiction isn’t with me only from 9-5. This huge gap in this service needs to be addressed! My addiction is ever present in my blood.

Hearing that the RAAM clinic was only open 9-5 broke my heart. Some people don’t have a car and it would take them two hours just to get there by bus! I am told that the hours are so low because they don’t have enough staff to operate it – well I say let’s find some. Addiction is 24/7, and available care should be too.

Are you a mental health and/or addiction specialist who lives in the Barrie area? Email me!

I can’t promise anything except that I will submit your name and resume to the RAAM. Thank you!


Dear Paramedic Student,

It’s paramedic week and I wanted to commemorate it with this blog post I wrote a while back. Thank you to all of the paramedics for serving your communities.

To the paramedic student,

You will think you can save everyone; you can’t.

You will learn how to eat an entire meal while walking from the station to the ambulance; who needs to chew anyways?

Nightgowns will be your nemesis; trust me.

You will question if you can defibrillate in the rain; can you?

You will hold many stranger’s hands; respect this opportunity.

You will question humanity after a pediatric VSA; that’s ok – you are not alone in this.

You will think that talking about your feelings makes you weak; it doesn’t.

You will learn the ‘vomit-look’ and be able to unwrap an emesis bag faster than you can blink an eye; you’ll know you have ‘made it’ when you can do this.

You will have your hands frozen to the metal of the stretcher when you are on the side of the highway in a snow storm; be grateful for quick-connects.

You will run out of sterile water when you are irrigating a burn; thank God for pain meds.

You will wonder how the heck could the senior guy/girl know more about anatomy than you? Remember, they have put anatomy back together on the side of a road; they know their stuff.

You will get lazy and not wash the truck; wash the damn truck.

You will step in things you cannot recognize; don’t wear your boots in your own home.

One of the best sounds you will hear is a newborn crying; then you will breathe.

You will wade through bloody mud to reach a trapped driver; they have been waiting to see your face.

The last sense that leaves an unconscious patient is sound; talk to them.

Google ‘agonal breathing’; you need to know what this looks like so you don’t mistake it.

You will think you’ve seen it all; trust me, you haven’t.

You will think you are the luckiest person in the world to have the career you do; you are.



Letter To The Premier About Police Funding Cuts

May 18th, 2019

Dear Premier Ford,

I am writing this letter to share my concerns about your planned cuts to the Ontario Provincial Police service.

I understand that you have a tremendous provincial deficit to tackle, but must it all be tackled so quickly? And without allowing municipal voices to be heard? Are you trying to balance your budget at the literal expense of municipal tax-payers? Police services are already under extreme financial restraint, and making funding cuts will equal a decrease in services which are so dire to the safety of our communities.

According to a Barrie Police dispatcher, (anonymous), citizens who make a 911 call for police are sometimes waiting hours for an officer to be free to attend. This delay is already putting our community’s safety at risk. And now that provincial funding will be cut by millions, delays will increase, and lives will be in even greater danger, and possibly lost.       

According to a recent article by The Canadian Press, provincial police funding cuts will effect “field and traffic services”. As a municipal Councillor in the City of Barrie, I already have difficulty obtaining sufficient traffic enforcement on my ward’s roads because Barrie’s officers are working at capacity with the budget they currently have. I now fear that I will have even more difficulty obtaining this enforcement, (which is so imperative to my community’s safety), when cuts are made. We don’t need less police services – we need more!

Please reconsider your decision to make funding cuts to provincial police services. And stop the increased demands on municipal, boots on the ground, services.

I welcome the opportunity to sit down with you to discuss this further.


Natalie Harris


Ward 6 Barrie City Councillor

CC MPP Andrea Khanjin

MPP Doug Downey

Barrie Police Chief Kimberley Greenwood.


Letter To The Ontario Premier Concerning Health Unit Amalgamations

May 18th, 2019

Dear Premier Ford,

I would like to share my deep concerns with the proposed amalgamation of public health units in Ontario.

According to the Association of Municipalities Ontario, “municipal service providers will  see fiscal impacts starting immediately”. And that your government stated that, “service level expectations are to be maintained.” How exactly are service levels expected to be maintained with these drastic amalgamations? And are taxpayers expected to make up for Ontario’s proposed decrease in funding? Would it not be more prudent to ask health units to look for administrative efficiencies PRIOR to assuming that your government’s cuts will balance out with said efficiency findings? I am afraid that amalgamations of health units will equal front-line cuts; which inevitably equals service losses. Which in turn will have a direct impact on the health of Ontario’s citizens.

Health unit workers already contribute massive amounts of volunteer hours to run many municipal committees. If we lose these workers, efforts made to combat crisises such as the opioid crisis, will be lost and difficult to reinstate. This Mr. Premier will equal lives lost.

I welcome the opportunity to sit down with you to provide constructive suggestions as to how we can maintain the level of care in which our amazing health units provide, while implementing the efficiencies your government is seeking.


Natalie Harris


Ward 6 Barrie City Councillor

CC MPP Andrea Khanjin

MPP Doug Downey

Dr. Lisa Simon

Dr. Charles Gardner