Many residents of Toronto’s Cabbagetown neighborhood are up in arms against multiple overdose-prevention sites and Premier Doug Ford has their back. This week he reiterated their concerns and said there was “no reason” to have four overdose-prevention sites in the neighbourhood. This followed the province’s decision last week to revamp its funding model, which includes not renewing licences to three existing sites.
“Having four within a kilometre in a neighbourhood, they’re upset,” said Ford.
Last week the government approval 15 overdose-prevention sites as licences for 21 existing sites were set to expire on Sunday.
Under the plan, three existing sites that weren’t approved would start winding down while three others were under review.
The sites allow those with drug addictions to get rehabilitation supports as well as a safe place to use their drugs.
Meanwhile community advocates say those who are homeless, have mental-health challenges or live in poverty will be most affected by the cuts.
Latest figures indicate more than 629 Ontarians died from opioid overdoses in the first six months of last year, according to Public Health Ontario, an increase of 80 over the year-before period.
In addition, there were 6,688 opioid-related emergency department visits in the province in the first nine months of 2018 and another 1,544 hospitalizations.
The government has earmarked $31 million in annual funding but there is every reason to believe that the amount won’t be enough given that the opioid crisis is getting worse and more people are at risk of dying due to opioid overdose. -CINEWS