Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday August 31, 2018
Change your stance on overdose prevention sites, health groups urge Ford
More than 100 health groups plan to send an open letter to Premier Doug Ford on Thursday, urging him to reconsider his Progressive Conservative government’s position on overdose prevention sites.
The letter — signed by 120 organizations including the Canadian AIDS Society and the Canadian Medical Association — urged Ford “to heed the recommendations of experts in public health, front-line clinicians, harm reduction staff, and people with lived experience of drug use.”
“Rather than impeding access to life-saving health services, we urge you to work with community organizations and other health services providers to ensure greater, equitable access to supervised consumption sites and overdose prevention sites for the people of Ontario.”
Since coming into power, Ford’s conservative government has put several approved sites on pause — including one in Toronto — while the government studies the issue.
“Minister Elliott is undertaking an evidence-based review, listening to experts, community leaders, community members and individuals who have lived through addiction to ensure that any continuation of drug injection sites introduce people into rehabilitation and ensure those struggling with addiction get the help they need,” a spokesperson for Elliott said in a statement to CBC Toronto.
“All of these voices will inform the review and recommendation. In the interim, the ministry has indicated that no new sites should open to the public. We expect this review to conclude in short order and will be making a recommendation on how to proceed.”
The organizations claim in the letter that the delays and closures of the sites could mean “more preventable overdose deaths and new infections of HIV, Hepatitis C and other illnesses.” (Source: CBC News)