Pubdate: Tue, 22 Aug 2017
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Shawn Jeffords
Page: 3


Councillor: Not the answer

The city's first temporary supervised injection site has opened its

But Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti slammed the move as a way to
"legitimize" drug use.

Housed at Toronto Public Health's building at 277 Victoria St., the
site began operation Monday morning after receiving Health Canada's
blessing on Sunday.

It is just a simple room with tables and the required receptacles to
safely dispose of needles. There's also an area for drug users to rest
behind a privacy screen.

Standing outside the clinic Monday morning, Mammoliti warned it will
lead to more crime in the area and hurt businesses. He also said he
can't understand why the province has not declared the overdose
problem an "emergency."

"If this is such a crisis, if it's an emergency that everyone says it
is, then why hasn't the province declared it an emergency, with the
funds associated to the provincial budget for such an emergency," he

Dr. Eileen da Villa, Toronto's chief medical officer of health, said
the operation will help the city respond to a spike in drug overdose

"It provides a safe environment for people who are going to use drugs
to use their drugs," she said. "We know both through research evidence
and through lived experience that it's very, very high risk ... when
people use alone."

Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins said in a statement that the
province has invested $3 million into Toronto's program for supervised
injection sites.

"When properly integrated with the right high-quality health supports
and other social services, supervised injection sites can provide
inclusive care to marginalized populations, reducing the
life-threatening harms and risks of drug use," he said.

Last summer, city council gave the OK to supervised injection sites
operating at The Works, located at Yonge and Dundas Sts.; the Queen
West-Central Toronto Community Health Centre in the Queen-Bathurst
Sts. area; and South Riverdale Community Health Centre, at Queen and
Carlaw Sts. Those sites are expected to open up this fall.

The temporary site was fast-tracked after a "pop-up" supervised
injection site began operating in Moss Park earlier this month. Nick
Boyce, a harm reduction advocate, says the pop-up site will continue
to operate.

He stressed that the group which runs the pop-up site isn't doing
anything illegal and has met with the Toronto Police Service to
explain the operation.
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