Safe injection sites could emerge in Mississauga and Brampton


By Nathan Sager

Published on June 30, 2022 at 10:58 p.m.

With more than 650 opioid-related deaths in Mississauga and Brampton and thousands of overdoses in the past five years, public health officials are asking regional councilors to approve supervised consumption services.

The Chief of Police agrees with the proposal to also bring safe injection sites to Peel Region.

Next Thursday (July 7), Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr Kate Bingham will present a proposal to the Region of Peel to enable and fund supervised consumption services for up to 24 months. This would cost about $5.8 million from fiscal stabilization reserves. Since applications to Health Canada and the Government of Ontario take time, advisors should grant regional managers the authority to create an “urgent public health needs site”.

The proponents say harms related to drug toxicity in Peel Region have worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. About half of the opioid-related deaths in Peel last year occurred to someone who was alone and had no one on hand who could call 911 or give naloxone. Furthermore, the ratio of non-fatal overdoses that can cause long-term health problems to fatal overdoses would be 20:1.

“The supply of increasingly toxic drugs in Peel has led to a dramatic increase in deaths from
fentanyl and fentanyl analogues,” write authors Kirsten Barnes, Inga Pedra and Jessica Mammone. Although death data is often reported as a key indicator of drug-related harm, it is only a proportion of total harm because a non-fatal overdose can lead to serious and long-term effects on health… For every fatal overdose, there are approximately 20-30 non-fatal overdoses.

Canada has had supervised consumption services, commonly referred to as safe infection sites, since 2003. There are nearly 40 nationwide, including 22 in Ontario. Guelph, Hamilton, Kitchener and Toronto each have at least one SCS site.

The report calls SCS sites “low-threshold health care services where people can use their own drugs in a safe and hygienic environment under the supervision of skilled, non-judgmental and trauma-informed staff and receive care. basic health, education and advice on harm reduction. , and necessary references. An SCS prevents fatal overdoses and reduces the spread of blood-borne infections (eg, HIV, hepatitis C) by decreasing high-risk behaviors and unsafe injection practices, such as needle sharing.

Police chief: “Evidence-based approach”

Peel Regional Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah wrote to the public health unit two weeks ago expressing support for SCS sites. Chief Duraiappah said he met with former health minister Dr Lawrence Loh about the matter.

“I would like to express our continued support for a holistic, evidence-based approach to substance abuse and substance abuse issues within Peel,” Duraiappah said.

“We recognize that addiction is first and foremost a public health issue and that prevention, treatment and harm reduction strategies must be central to how we address these issues as a community.

Letters of support have also been written by Embrave Agency To End Violence, the John Howard Society of Peel-Halton-Dufferin, Our Place Peel, Peel Drug Users Advisory Panel and Wellfort Community Health Services.

If interim funding is approved, Peel Public Health and Moyo Health and Community Services will continue to consult with affected neighborhoods about the potential location of SCS sites.

However, Brampton Chamber of Commerce chief executive Todd Letts is urging the regional council to send the proposal back for review. Letts says there has been a “totally inadequate engagement process” with the business community in Brampton.

“Questions from the business community such as how much the Regional Council is being asked to allocate, and for what, as well as the timing and process of recruiting a site provider, have not received a response. response,” Letts said. “Without a fair process of consultation with businesses in the region, the regional council only has a one-sided bureaucratic view and the regional council is asked to assume a number of unknown risks.

“The board should deny this request for funding and ask Peel Public Health to only come forward with a proposal at a time when better and more detailed information can be provided,” adds Letts, who prefaces this position by saying the chamber of trade is conducive to improving public health outcomes.

Near the end of the proposal, the authors calling for supervised consumption services say it is a matter of urgency.

“Without immediate intervention, the increase in opioid-related deaths and non-fatal overdoses in Peel is expected to continue to rise unabated.”

The issue will be discussed at a meeting at 9:30 next Thursday. The full proposal is available at peelregion.escribemeetings.com.

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