Proposed safe injection site in Queen West Central gets positive feedback at meeting

Community Jun 21, 2016 by Justin Skinner Parkdale Villager

If the public’s opinion is taken into account – and by all indications it will be – the Queen West Central Toronto Community Health Centre will someday be home to a safe injection site.

Roughly 100 people came out to a meeting on Monday, June 20 at the Trinity Community Recreation Centre to hear from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. David McKeown and other experts on the issue.

While support for the concept was not unanimous, those in the audience were overwhelmingly positive about the prospect.

“The evidence is overwhelming this is good for our neighbourhood,” said one resident, to loud applause.

Several others expressed hope Queen West Central would soon house a safe injection site, noting it would lead to a reduction in discarded needles from intravenous drug users who do not have a safe place to inject.

The Queen West Central site is one of three proposed supervised injection sites in the City of Toronto, with others being recommended for Toronto Public Health - The Works at Dundas and Victoria streets and the South Riverdale Community Health Centre.

McKeown pointed out that overdose deaths have been on the rise in Toronto in recent years, increasing by 77 per cent between 2004 and 2014. Safe injection sites – which include a room in which drug users could be monitored by a nurse – have been shown to reduce that problem.

The sites also help reduce incidences of Hepatitis C and HIV, as users are given sterile equipment and allowed to inject in a clean environment.

“It’s a service delivered by health professionals in a health facility,” McKeown said. “It’s a service that provides a safer – and drug use is never going to be 100 per cent, so we say safer – hygienic, clean environment where people who are drug users can bring their own drugs and inject them under the supervision of a nurse.”

Importantly, people who use the service are given direct advice and access to treatment options and other health care needs and social supports, which is invaluable in helping users fight addiction.

Dr. Carol Strike of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, one of the authors of an assessment study on supervised injection sites, noted such sites do not lead to increases or increased relapses in terms of drug use or a marked increase in crime in the neighbourhoods in which they are located.

She added that embedding such services in facilities that already offer harm reduction services – the three proposed sites have distributed clean needles for some time – provides the best service.

Queen West Central executive director Angela Robertson said adding a safe injection site to her facility would do more than provide a place for drug users to inject.

“As a community health centre, we work from the perspective that it’s not just sufficient to respond to respond to the clinical health issues, but we also need to respond to the social determinants of health,” she said. “We provide harm reduction throughout the space at our centre where clients can come for services and support.”

She noted education and advocacy would allow clients to access health care, housing, employment and other supports.

“Safe injection sites, we see as a part of the continuum of services we provide.”

McKeown pointed out that safe injection sites would help boost Toronto’s drug strategy as a whole.

“They’re not a magic bullet - they’re not going to solve all the problems, they’re not going to prevent every overdose,” McKeown said. “However, supervised injection – I have come to believe – is a very important component (of a city-wide drug strategy.)”

In order for safe injection sites to open, the facilities would need to secure an exemption from the federal Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Results from several community consultations and surveys, along with recommendations from McKeown, will be presented to the Board of Health in July and, if approved, the exemption will be sought this fall.

Proposed safe injection site in Queen West Central gets positive feedback at meeting

Site one of three safe injection sites being proposed for Toronto

Community Jun 21, 2016 by Justin Skinner Parkdale Villager

If the public’s opinion is taken into account – and by all indications it will be – the Queen West Central Toronto Community Health Centre will someday be home to a safe injection site.

Roughly 100 people came out to a meeting on Monday, June 20 at the Trinity Community Recreation Centre to hear from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. David McKeown and other experts on the issue.

While support for the concept was not unanimous, those in the audience were overwhelmingly positive about the prospect.

“The evidence is overwhelming this is good for our neighbourhood,” said one resident, to loud applause.

Several others expressed hope Queen West Central would soon house a safe injection site, noting it would lead to a reduction in discarded needles from intravenous drug users who do not have a safe place to inject.

The Queen West Central site is one of three proposed supervised injection sites in the City of Toronto, with others being recommended for Toronto Public Health - The Works at Dundas and Victoria streets and the South Riverdale Community Health Centre.

McKeown pointed out that overdose deaths have been on the rise in Toronto in recent years, increasing by 77 per cent between 2004 and 2014. Safe injection sites – which include a room in which drug users could be monitored by a nurse – have been shown to reduce that problem.

The sites also help reduce incidences of Hepatitis C and HIV, as users are given sterile equipment and allowed to inject in a clean environment.

“It’s a service delivered by health professionals in a health facility,” McKeown said. “It’s a service that provides a safer – and drug use is never going to be 100 per cent, so we say safer – hygienic, clean environment where people who are drug users can bring their own drugs and inject them under the supervision of a nurse.”

Importantly, people who use the service are given direct advice and access to treatment options and other health care needs and social supports, which is invaluable in helping users fight addiction.

Dr. Carol Strike of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, one of the authors of an assessment study on supervised injection sites, noted such sites do not lead to increases or increased relapses in terms of drug use or a marked increase in crime in the neighbourhoods in which they are located.

She added that embedding such services in facilities that already offer harm reduction services – the three proposed sites have distributed clean needles for some time – provides the best service.

Queen West Central executive director Angela Robertson said adding a safe injection site to her facility would do more than provide a place for drug users to inject.

“As a community health centre, we work from the perspective that it’s not just sufficient to respond to respond to the clinical health issues, but we also need to respond to the social determinants of health,” she said. “We provide harm reduction throughout the space at our centre where clients can come for services and support.”

She noted education and advocacy would allow clients to access health care, housing, employment and other supports.

“Safe injection sites, we see as a part of the continuum of services we provide.”

McKeown pointed out that safe injection sites would help boost Toronto’s drug strategy as a whole.

“They’re not a magic bullet - they’re not going to solve all the problems, they’re not going to prevent every overdose,” McKeown said. “However, supervised injection – I have come to believe – is a very important component (of a city-wide drug strategy.)”

In order for safe injection sites to open, the facilities would need to secure an exemption from the federal Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Results from several community consultations and surveys, along with recommendations from McKeown, will be presented to the Board of Health in July and, if approved, the exemption will be sought this fall.

Proposed safe injection site in Queen West Central gets positive feedback at meeting

Site one of three safe injection sites being proposed for Toronto

Community Jun 21, 2016 by Justin Skinner Parkdale Villager

If the public’s opinion is taken into account – and by all indications it will be – the Queen West Central Toronto Community Health Centre will someday be home to a safe injection site.

Roughly 100 people came out to a meeting on Monday, June 20 at the Trinity Community Recreation Centre to hear from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. David McKeown and other experts on the issue.

While support for the concept was not unanimous, those in the audience were overwhelmingly positive about the prospect.

“The evidence is overwhelming this is good for our neighbourhood,” said one resident, to loud applause.

Several others expressed hope Queen West Central would soon house a safe injection site, noting it would lead to a reduction in discarded needles from intravenous drug users who do not have a safe place to inject.

The Queen West Central site is one of three proposed supervised injection sites in the City of Toronto, with others being recommended for Toronto Public Health - The Works at Dundas and Victoria streets and the South Riverdale Community Health Centre.

McKeown pointed out that overdose deaths have been on the rise in Toronto in recent years, increasing by 77 per cent between 2004 and 2014. Safe injection sites – which include a room in which drug users could be monitored by a nurse – have been shown to reduce that problem.

The sites also help reduce incidences of Hepatitis C and HIV, as users are given sterile equipment and allowed to inject in a clean environment.

“It’s a service delivered by health professionals in a health facility,” McKeown said. “It’s a service that provides a safer – and drug use is never going to be 100 per cent, so we say safer – hygienic, clean environment where people who are drug users can bring their own drugs and inject them under the supervision of a nurse.”

Importantly, people who use the service are given direct advice and access to treatment options and other health care needs and social supports, which is invaluable in helping users fight addiction.

Dr. Carol Strike of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, one of the authors of an assessment study on supervised injection sites, noted such sites do not lead to increases or increased relapses in terms of drug use or a marked increase in crime in the neighbourhoods in which they are located.

She added that embedding such services in facilities that already offer harm reduction services – the three proposed sites have distributed clean needles for some time – provides the best service.

Queen West Central executive director Angela Robertson said adding a safe injection site to her facility would do more than provide a place for drug users to inject.

“As a community health centre, we work from the perspective that it’s not just sufficient to respond to respond to the clinical health issues, but we also need to respond to the social determinants of health,” she said. “We provide harm reduction throughout the space at our centre where clients can come for services and support.”

She noted education and advocacy would allow clients to access health care, housing, employment and other supports.

“Safe injection sites, we see as a part of the continuum of services we provide.”

McKeown pointed out that safe injection sites would help boost Toronto’s drug strategy as a whole.

“They’re not a magic bullet - they’re not going to solve all the problems, they’re not going to prevent every overdose,” McKeown said. “However, supervised injection – I have come to believe – is a very important component (of a city-wide drug strategy.)”

In order for safe injection sites to open, the facilities would need to secure an exemption from the federal Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Results from several community consultations and surveys, along with recommendations from McKeown, will be presented to the Board of Health in July and, if approved, the exemption will be sought this fall.