Toronto to open interim injection sites to respond to rising overdoses

Modesto Morganelli
Agosto 16, 2017

"We're trying to open them as quickly as possible", she said of the interim sites, adding that while she didn't have an exact date, the sites could be up and running in a matter of days.

The veteran city councillor, who has been a vocal opponent of the city's move to open three supervised injection sites, says there will be consequences for allowing the pop-up site to exist.

"Council is allowing this group to take over a park for an unauthorized injection site and soft-stepping around even more freaky suggestions, like legalizing hardcore drugs such as heroin", he said.

While the interim operation is not expected to be the same as the fully-built sites, it will be located at the public health's building downtown.

"We are hoping, at this point, to be in a position to have them open within a week", he said. Advocates said immediately opening interim drug use spaces would save lives while the city's three supervised injection sites were constructed.

The other two interim sites will be at community health centres not run by the city.

"There are lots of logistics, lots of things that need to be taken care of", she said.

Da Villa didn't have details on exactly how many staff members would be present at either interim or long-term facilities.

De Villa acknowledged that the city has been seeing more overdoses recently and said that as the interim sites operate, staff will work to ensure that the permanent safe injection sites open as quickly as possible.

Earlier this month, the city announced it would speed up the opening of all three permanent sites, and widen the distribution of the opioid overdose antidote naloxone to public health staff, community agencies and first responders.

A statement from Toronto police deputy chief Mike Federico advised anyone dealing with an overdose to call 911.

Data from Toronto Public Health indicates that there were 87 opioid-related deaths in the city in the first six months of 2016, and there were 135 opioid-related deaths in 2015.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story.

"I am doing everything I can to get the three supervised injection sites open permanently and, after speaking to the federal and provincial government today, work is now proceeding on an expedited basis", he said in a statement.

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