Barrie, opioid

“The Addict” – A Poem

I decided to write a poem instead of an insomnia thought tonight:

The Addict

I know you’re hanging by a thread,
I understand what’s in your head.
Chaos whirlwinds all around;
Needle piles are on the ground.
Never know if you’ll be sold;
Recovery takes you being bold.
Sick and searching to be free;
No time for purpose, just time for me.
Dedicate your life to change;
So many lives to rearrange.
Tough times living in the low;
But then again it’s all you know.
Confusing minds are set to fail;
While suffering minds are sent to jail.
Don’t take your precious eyes off me;
Don’t let addiction make you flee.
Help is scarce but it’s still there;
No need to drown in self despair.
Your destiny is soaring free;
Beyond the night, so much to be.
Live and jump on chandeliers;
Scream for freedom from your fears.
You’re gorgeous but you’re filled with dark;
Release the pain that left a mark.
Lift your head up from the ground;
There’s always hope this time around.


The Tattoo Debate; Yes vs. No


I started canvassing the 5600 homes in Ward 6 of Barrie in June of last year. And at first I wasn’t sure if I should cover up my tattoos; I still had the belief that stigma associated with them would exist. But then after a few days of wearing a jacket, and pretty much dying of heat stroke, I couldn’t take it any longer and started to wear t-shirts.

My tattoos are very important to me; they share my recovery stories from PTSD and addiction. I love the art of tattooing as well, and feel proud to wear such amazing talent on my arms (Kudos to my artist Scott at Lucky Devil in Barrie). Needless to say I was a bit nervous about what people would think when they opened their door to a full-tattoo-sleeved female asking for their support. But I didn’t need to be nervous for long! I got so many compliments on my tattoos and they became an icebreaker many times at the doors. Some even said they would vote for me because of them!

I did have one experience where a man opened his door and looked at my tattoos and immediately shared that he wouldn’t vote for me. I asked him why, (to confirm whether or not his comments were about my tattoos), and he continued to say that he found them offensive and that a politician shouldn’t have tattoos. I kindly thanked him for his feedback, left the door step almost in tears, pulled myself together and knocked on some more doors.

I totally understand that there is still stigma surrounding tattoos, but I found that very genuine and kind people get them as well so that they can permanently remember something or someone in their lives. Just because I have tattoos doesn’t mean that I am in a gang, am an ex-convict, or that I have a violent side of myself. I just simply love expressing myself through art on my body.

It took me several months so show up to a city council meeting wearing a sleeveless dress that would most definitely put my tattoos on display. And I was so happy to not hear a negative comment about them once – thank you!

What are your thoughts on this? I would love to hear them!


Courage For Freedom Campaign – Join me at the Barrie Onroute on July 30th

From the website: Courage For Freedom



Campaign launch February 22 (Canada’s Human Trafficking Awareness Day) and concludes July 30 (World Day Against Trafficking

Courage for Freedom announces #ProjectONroute, a Provincial human trafficking media campaign.

February 22nd, 2019 is Canada’s Human Trafficking Awareness Day and our Project launch starts with you sharing the “Save the Date” postcards and emails.

This media awareness initiative is part of our community education strategy with cooperation, support and encouragement from numerous police services, first responders, victim support groups, community and political leaders, chambers of commerce, businesses, healthcare providers, women’s groups, civic groups, community services and more.

Will you join us?

Together, our campaign will provide over 2 million media awareness impressions at all 20 ONroutes in Ontario communities during the month of July 2019.

This is an open invitation for you, your family, friends, colleagues and coworkers to attend and celebrate the campaign finale at a local ONroute locations July 30th 9:20am sharp (please RSVP by clicking “join our campaign” below!).

July 30th join together and take photos, and meet others who are concerned and taking action to share information and knowledge about human sex trafficking safety.


More Reasons To Visit Barrie’s Waterfront!

                     More reasons to visit Barrie’s waterfront this summer

(Barrie, ON) The shores of Kempenfelt Bay are bustling this summer with a number of vendors ready to help visitors maximize their enjoyment of Barrie’s waterfront.

From stand-up paddle boarding to wake surfing, the following vendors are working with the City of Barrie and Tourism Barrie to promote an active and vibrant waterfront this season:

  • Happy Paddling is providing Canoe, Kayak and SUP rentals, lessons and tours.


  • Recreation Leisure Services is operating the Centennial Beach Concession as well as the Scoops and Cones Ice Cream hut by the marina office.



  • Surf, Wake, Ski is offering wake-boarding, wake surfing rentals, lessons and summer camps.



Barrie’s waterfront and downtown are the perfect place to spend time with family and friends this summer. Enjoy the newly renovated Centennial Park, which has 400 metres of sandy beach with enhanced amenities including a basketball court, jungle gym and large grassy areas with mature trees. Explore the waterfront trail, which spans approximately 6.7 km around the lake, offering beautiful views and opportunities to walk, run, rollerblade or cycle.  Drop by Meridian Place to check out the various programs and activities, and stroll through the downtown for shopping, great food and patios overlooking the waterfront.


Barrie residents can park for free at specific waterfront lots with a Resident Parking Pass. Two Resident Waterfront Parking Passes were mailed to all Barrie addresses in 2017 and have no expiry date. Non-residents are charged $3/hour with a daily max of $20; paid parking is enforced 24/7/365.


For more information about waterfront attractions, visit

Barrie, opioid, ward 6

My response to Linda Lee Logan about my contribution to raising public awareness and preventing overdose deaths in the community during the opioid epidemic.


Dear Linda Lee Logan,

I am writing to you as the Ward 6 Barrie City Councillor in response to your request for comments regarding my contribution to raising public awareness and to preventing overdose deaths in the community during the opioid epidemic.

As you may already know, I am a retired Advanced Care Paramedic, making my contribution to saving lives from opioid deaths begin many years ago. I have seen patients die from suspected opioid overdoses right before my very eyes – more times than I can count. Before I retired due to a diagnosis of PTSD in 2014, the opioid epidemic was dramatically increasing, and I have been informed by current paramedics in the County of Simcoe that they now attend multiple suspected opioid overdose calls on a daily basis.

I have seen the horror of grief cross the faces of family members who have lost a loved one to this epidemic. And I also know the devastating effects these calls have on first responders, so in 2015, with the help of other community heroes across Canada, I developed a free peer support model that is now being used in over 30 cities across Canada. It is called Wings of Change and you can find it at

As Ward 6 City Councillor, since October 2018, I have done the following to raise public awareness about the opioid epidemic and to contribute to saving lives in our community:

  • I requested that City Council declare a public health emergency with respect to the opioid epidemic and request funding from the federal and provincial governments to increase opioid trafficking enforcement, treatment, prevention and education;
  • I have met several times with representatives from the David Busby Centre, The Gilbert Centre, the Simcoe-Muskoka Health Unit and members of the Simcoe-Muskoka Opioid Strategy (SMOS) to ask difficult questions about SMOS’s due diligence with respect to the federal and provincial applications for a supervised consumption site;
  • I have travelled to Guelph, Ontario, to visit a supervised consumption site and to meet with Guelph’s Mayor Cam Guthrie, the facilitators of the program, and a representative from the Guelph Police Service;
  • I have worked directly with MP Alex Nuttal and supported his request that the federal government declare an opioid public health emergency, and participated in a town hall meeting he hosted regarding Barrie’s proposed supervised consumption site;
  • I have met with MPP Andrea Khanjin to discuss the potential development of a provincial mental health hub which would include addiction and drug abuse support;
  • I have met with parents who have lost children to this epidemic many times;
  • I have met with the Director of the Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM) and asked how I could help to increase their hours of operation;
  • I am scheduled to meet with the Attorney General Doug Downey, MPP Andrea Khanjin, family members affected by the opioid epidemic, the Director of the Barrie Rapid Access Addiction Medicine, and a fellow advocate, on July 9th to discuss increasing funding to the RAAM’s services so that they can be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week;
  • I am scheduled to meet with the Director of the Newmarket Treatment Centre on July 11th, and have spoken to Homewood Health representatives about the possibility of bringing a satellite treatment centre to Barrie;
  • I carry naloxone in my glove-box;
  • I have arranged a meeting with the Creative Barrie department, family members who have lost children to this epidemic, and a fellow advocate to discuss the development of a memorial which will be located in Barrie to remember those who we have lost to opioid related deaths;
  • I work one-on-one with the marginalized in Barrie and provide them with resources and support;
  • I have spoken about my personal experience with addiction and recovery at the Barrie Alcohol-Drug Withdrawal Centre (Detox), and 12-step meetings many times.

Looking to the future, I will continue to support the application of a supervised consumption site in Barrie, and will share my own recovery journey whenever required in order to help our community heal and grow beyond this epidemic.

I welcome the opportunity to sit down and speak with you further about my endeavours, and thank you so much for the advocacy work you do with the organization, Mom Stop The Harm.

It may seem as if their is little hope in eradicating this epidemic, but I will not stop fighting to find new ways to save lives and prevent anyone else from seeing the horror of grief cross a parent’s face.


Natalie Harris

Ward 6 Barrie City Councillor

BHSc, AEMCA, ACP (ret.)