Pubdate: Wed, 24 Jan 2018
Source: Record, The (Kitchener, CN ON)
Copyright: 2018 Metroland Media Group Ltd.
Author: Liz Monteiro
Page: B3


CAMBRIDGE - Coun. Frank Monteiro has a lot of questions he hopes he
can get answers to.

He, along with Coun. Mike Mann and two city employees, will visit
supervised injectionsites in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver to learn
more about how the sites work and what doesn't work.

Monteiro says that before any decisions can be made locally, more
information is needed on how the sites function and how the
neighbourhoods around them have been affected.

"We want to know what their experience has been since they were
established and are people using it," he said.

The city contingent will go to Toronto on Wednesday night and walk
around the neighbourhood to talk to people who live in the community.

They will visit Ottawa next week and Vancouver next month. While they
are in British Columbia, they also will visit Kamloops and Kelowna,
cities similar in size to Cambridge that have supervised injection

Waterloo Region Public Health conducted a feasibility study last year
and it is expected the results will be presented to regional
councillors on Feb. 27.

Public health manager Karen Quigley-Hobbs said regional council must
approve the study and its results before the next phase of
consultation begins.

Locations of supervised injection sites in the region have not been
decided, she said.

The issue of where to locate sites has some Cambridge residents
concerned. A public meeting last month in Galt attracted a full house
at Dunfield Theatre; many of the people in the audience were worried
about a supervised injection site in their community.

Public health advocates say supervised injections sites are part of
the solution when it comes to tackling the local opioid crisis. It
enables safer drug use, they say. In 2017, 71 people died of opioid
overdoses in Waterloo Region. The year before, there were 38 deaths.
There were 580 drug overdoses in total last year.

Police and paramedics suspect those numbers will continue to

The province is now able to approve applications for temporary
overdose prevention sites. These sites focus on supervised drug
consumption, whereas the supervised injection site is permanent and
offers help on substance prevention.

Monteiro said it's important to gather information from both the users
and the residents in the community who live around the site.

"People here want to know what is coming to their neighbourhood," he
said. "It's a very delicate situation. You have to be fair to both."

Monteiro wants to know how many users go to the sites and which ones
are better for this region, and whether they should be permanent sites
or mobile ones.

A report on the visits will be presented to council.

"People will know the good and the bad. We will be upfront about what
we saw," he said.

"We want to find out what is working or what isn't."
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