Pubdate: Sat, 05 Aug 2017
Source: Windsor Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 The Windsor Star
Author: Julie Kotsis
Page: A5


Safe injection sites for Windsor could be part of a "comprehensive
solution" as the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit embarks on a study
of how best to tackle illegal drug use and its ensuing

Acting-medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed said the solution
must address broader issues of mental health, social support,
treatment options, enforcement issues and could possibly include a
supervised injection site in the city.

"Right now, we are at the very preliminary stage to even understand
the potential action items needed in our community," Ahmed said. "When
we have that, we will be in a much better position to say if this
would be a good thing or a bad thing.

"We are not just looking for a patchwork solution, we are looking for
a comprehensive solution so that we can have an effect that is

The health unit reported there were 24 opioid-related deaths in
Windsor-Essex County in 2015. Nineteen of those deaths were in Windsor.

But Ahmed doesn't want to just focus on opioid abuse.

"We need to look … at all the range of options that are needed to
control this opioid crisis and also extend it beyond to all the other
drugs that are used in the community," he said.

The safe injection site is one of the more controversial options that
will be considered, along with more education, increased treatment
beds and additional efforts in prevention.

Supervised injection sites are being considered by other cities.
Toronto and Ottawa are in the process of setting them up.

Ahmed said there are proven benefits, garnered from the experiences in
other cities such as Vancouver, including a reduction in the number of
drug overdoses and deaths, reduced risk factors that lead to
infectious diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C common in people who
inject drugs. There is also an increase in the use of detox and
treatment services by drug users who attend the centres.

Staff can connect clients with other health and social services, and
the sites help to reduce the amount of publicly discarded needles.

Community concerns about where these sites are set up and what it
might mean for residents in those locations would need to be addressed
along with questions about cost effectiveness and criminal drug
possession considerations.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt