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Open Letter to Minister Elliott Re: Supervised Injection/Overdose Prevention Announcement

October 22, 2018                                          

Re: Supervised Injection/Overdose Prevention Announcement

Dear Minister Elliott,

We welcome the Ontario government’s decision today to continue to fund and support supervised consumption and overdose prevention services for people who use drugs. We are further encouraged that you have committed to ensuring that existing services will continue without interruption while a new model is introduced, and that the three sites placed on pause in August will be able to open.

We know that these vital services save lives, build trust, help connect people to services and make communities safer. We look forward to working with you on the planned new model for Consumption and Treatment Services, which will continue to include overdose prevention and harm reduction services, along with a focus on connecting people to primary care, treatment, and social services, including housing and employment supports.

We’re pleased to see the government’s initial commitment to 21 Consumption and Treatment Service locations in the province. Currently, there are 16 supervised consumption/overdose prevention services operating in Ontario and three more ready to open. At least four other communities hard hit by the overdose crisis have been waiting for months to submit applications to offer life-saving harm reduction services in their communities.

Ontario remains gripped in a public health crisis with an average of three people dying every day from drug overdoses. There is a poisoned drug supply that is not going away. The latest data show 287 opioid deaths for just the first three months of this year in Ontario.

We urge you, Minister, to ensure that every community in Ontario fighting the overdose crisis has access to nimble, evidence-based care that saves lives and connects people to health and social services. We look forward to working with you to implement new Consumption and Treatment Services wherever there is a need and ensuring that we can continue to save lives.

Yours sincerely,

  • Mark Aston, Executive Director, Fred Victor Centre, Toronto
  • Mike Bell, Chief Executive Officer, Kingston Community Health Centres
  • Denise Brooks, Executive Director, Hamilton Urban Core Community Health Centre 
  • Naini Cloutier, Executive Director, Somerset West Community Health Centre, Ottawa 
  • Gerry Croteau, Executive Director, Gilbert Centre, Barrie
  • Raechelle Devereaux,  Executive Director, Guelph Community Health Centre
  • Kim Dolan, Executive Director, PARN, Peterborough
  • Paulos Gebreyesus, Executive Director, Regent Park Community Health Centre, Toronto 
  • David B. Gibson, Executive Director, Sandy Hill Community Health Centre, Ottawa
  • Shaun Hopkins, Manager, The Works, Toronto Public Health  
  • Juanita Lawson, Chief Executive Officer, NorWest Community Health Centres
  • Wendy Muckle, Executive Director, Ottawa Inner City Health, Inc. 
  • Nilda Patey, Executive Director, Peel HIV/AIDS Network
  • Kapri Rabin, Executive Director, Street Health, Toronto
  • Brian Lester, Executive Director, London Regional HIV/AIDS Connection
  • Lynne Raskin, Chief Executive Officer, South Riverdale Community Health Centre, Toronto
  • Angela Robertson, Executive Director, Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre
  • Bill Sinclair, Executive Director, St. Stephen's Community House, Toronto
  • Rita Taillefer, Executive Director, Windsor Essex Community Health Centre
  • Glen Walker, Executive Director, Positive Living Niagara
Monday, October 22, 2018