Talk of supervised injection site dominates regional council meeting

Heated arguments for and against supervised injection sites dominated the Regional Council meeting Tuesday for four hours

The Region of Waterloo council heard a multitude of options for treating the opioid crisis on Tuesday

Heated discussions over how to address Ontario's opioid crisis, dominated the Waterloo regional council meeting for four hours on Tuesday. 

Many community groups and health providers presented to Geoff Lorentz, the chair of the region's Community Services Committee and a hot topic of discussion was the installation of a supervised injection site. 

Bruce Lauckner, CEO of the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), said a safe needle-exchange site is one of the many solutions that "have been demonstrated to have positive effects on public health." 

He said a heated point of discussion is where to put the safe-needle exchange. 

"It's important to locate these sites as close as possible to individuals in need and sometimes that conflicts of other uses in the area," said Lauckner. 

Lauckner said the meeting was an "important health dialogue" and opportunity to educate the public about the solutions they are putting forward. 

"No one sector or organization can tackle this alone. I think council saw that today," he said. 

Lauckner also presented a range of solutions that LHIN's partners are doing in the area, some of which include providing education and support for frontline and emergency workers.

Another solution is to install a few 'rapid addictions clinics' in Cambridge and Waterloo region, where people can walk-in to get help without an appointment. 

Lauckner said LHIN installed one in Guelph and it has been "highly successful." 

"It takes great courage to tackle an addiction, and having an accessible organization who is willing to help you, is really important," he said. 

Lauckner said they will be opening two additional new clinics in the new year, which will operate twice a week.