Pubdate: Sat, 26 Aug 2017
Source: Ottawa Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Olivia Blackmore
Page: 4


Unsanctioned overdose prevention site revealed to be near ByWard

When Erick Laurie found out Friday that a pop-up safe injection site
had been set up in his neighbourhood, he called one of his friends who
uses drugs, and after a little convincing they walked to Raphael
Brunet Park together.

"You'll have somewhere where you feel safe, you'll feel comfortable. A
friend can bring them (to the site)," said Laurie, who was addicted to
opioids while receiving treatment for back pain about a decade ago.

The launch of the "pop-up" supervised injection site was announced on
Thursday, and on Friday the location was revealed at the Brunet Park
near the ByWard Market. The site was open to people who wanted to use
the service it provides for three hours Friday evening.

The unauthorized site, located across the street from 310 St. Patrick
St., was inspired by overdose prevention sites in tents pitched in
Toronto and Vancouver.

Laurie had overheard a woman make a negative comment about the site,
but decided he wouldn't rush to any conclusions.

"I said, 'Let me check this out before I judge it.' It's my community.
I think it's awesome - it's a step in the right direction."

Laurie said he has seen people using drugs while they hide in the
corners of abandoned and brokendown buildings.

"If somebody overdoses alone in the morning doing their hit, nobody
knows until it's too late."

Organizers and volunteers had tents up by 3 p.m. - the first tent is
used as a greeting area, with snacks and equipment, another tent is
used for safe-injection and a camping tent is used as a space for drug
users to relax, said Catherine Hacksel, one of the volunteers.

Police arrived at the location after 3 p.m. and informed organizers
that the popup site was a bylaw infraction because the group did not
have a permit, Hacksel said. But the group was not told to leave, she

Organizers said that the site would be open Friday, Saturday and
Sunday from 6 p.m. until 9. They will monitor how the community
responds before deciding how long they will continue to operate.
Organizers would not reveal how many visited the site on Friday evening.
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