Pubdate: Wed, 31 Jan 2018
Source: Sudbury Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2018 Osprey Media
Author: Mary Katherine Keown
Page: A1


Committee to look at report next week

Sudbury could become home to a safe injection site.

The community services committee will hear next week about the
prospect of undertaking a feasibility study for a site, which will
cost $150,000 to $200,000. Council is being asked to endorse the report.

"Through community consultations, under the mental health and
compassionate city community priorities, the suggested action includes
the study of and possible

establishment of a supervised injection site," a staff report
indicates. "In addition, the establishment of (a safe injection site)
has been prioritized by the community drug strategy as part of the
harm reduction pillar area of responsibility."

There is a problem in Sudbury. According to the report, 54 people were
admitted to hospital over the past six months for drug overdoses.
"Further data from 2016 indicates a rise in local opioid-related
emergency department visits with 107. Of these 107 visits, 35 cases
led to related admissions," the report continues.

City staff say the safe injection site would complement Sudbury's
existing needle exchange and collection program.

"As mentioned in the 2018 budget business case, the Sudbury and
District Health Unit has reported a significant rise in the needles
issued through their needle exchange program with as many as 800,000
needles issued in 2016, rising to a predicted 1.2 million needles to
the end of 2017," the report states. "(A safe injection site) would be
an enhancement to current harm reduction services in the community,
which would help with the discarded needle problem."

Supervised injection sites got their start in Canada in Vancouver in
2003 with Insite. The program has been a phenomenal success. According
to Vancouver Coastal Health, "more than 3.6 million clients have
injected illicit drugs under supervision by nurses at Insite since
2003. There have been 48,798 clinical treatment visits and 6,440
overdose interventions without any deaths."

In 2016 alone, staff prevented more than 1,700 overdoses at Insite.
Most people used heroin (60.2 per cent of instances), methamphetamine
(21.7 per cent of instances) and cocaine (6.5 per cent of instances).

"Supervised injection sites have been well researched in peer-reviewed
journals and have shown the following outcomes: reduced overdose
related morbidity; a decrease in public injecting and discarded
needles, and no increase to related crimes; associated with increased
referrals to health and social services, including detoxification and
drug treatment programs; and associated with less risky injecting
practices and a reduction in transmission rates of HIV and Hepatitis
C," the staff report indicates. "The province of Ontario has approved
supervised injection services as part of a broader harm reduction
strategy in response to growing opioid misuse and overdose."

The Ministry of Health and Longterm Care has committed to funding
injection sites throughout the province, but actually launching a site
in Sudbury could be a long out process.

"The approval process for a (safe injection site) is a multi-step
process that requires an application to Health Canada for an exemption
to operate (site) along with a provincial application for funding
support," the report states.

The community services committee meets Monday at 4 p.m. in room C-11.
The meeting is open to the public or can be livestreamed at
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MAP posted-by: Matt