Pubdate: Thu, 24 Mar 2016
Source: Metro (Toronto, CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Metro Canada
Author: Gilbert Ngabo
Page: 9


Suburban drug users still at risk, however, critics contend

The city is considering creating three supervised injection sites in
downtown Toronto, but community health-care providers in Scarborough
say drug users in the suburbs remain at risk.

"We do serve a vulnerable population, some of them who could have
serious drug abuse problems," said Kim Cook, the vice president of
community health at the Scarborough Centre for Healthy

"Having a safe injection site - at least one - would really

The city's board of health approved a proposal to integrate injection
services into healthcare clinics at three locations - Queen Street
West, Central Toronto and South Riverdale.

The locations were chosen based on high rates of intravenous drug use
and associated high-risk behaviours, like overdoses and public
injections, said a Toronto Public Health spokesperson.

Supervised sites have been proven to reduce overdose rates, as well as
the spread of blood-borne diseases like hepatitis and HIV.

However, a feasibility study indicated users would not travel more
than 10 blocks to access injection sites.

That's a problem for Scarborough, Cook said, as the Riverdale site is
much further away.

"It's a long distance away. Transportation is a huge barrier for most
of these people," she said.

In a statement to Metro, a Toronto Public Health spokesperson said
there are no plans to add additional sites in the suburbs at this time.

According to a recent report, as many
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt