Toronto Public Health to open interim safe-injection site as early as this week
Harm reduction advocates opened pop-up injection site in downtown park last weekend
Toronto Public Health says it will soon open an interim safe-injection site amid a spate of overdose deaths in the city.
The move also comes days after harm reduction advocates opened a pop-up supervised-injection site in Moss Park, warning drug users couldn't wait for the city's official sites to open.
Coun. Joe Cressy suggested on Twitter the injection site will open this week.
Our plan to expedite the opening of Federally approved supervised injection services in Toronto this week. <a href="https://t.co/q3Ja1f1Rp0">https://t.co/q3Ja1f1Rp0</a>—@joe_cressy
Toronto has been dealing with a spike in the number of overdoses. One recent weekend was marred by the deaths of four people.
"Each of these overdoses, whether fatal or not, represents a son, a daughter, a family member or a friend," said Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, in a statement released Monday afternoon.
"This issue is having a devastating impact on people who use drugs, their families, friends and many others who work tirelessly to provide intervention and support for people in crisis."
The health authority didn't say where the facility will be, however it will likely be at one of the three sites already approved by the federal government.
The three permanent safe injection sites were originally slated to open in the fall. Earlier this month, the city announced it would speed up the opening of all three sites, as well as widening the distribution of the opioid overdose antidote naloxone to public health staff, community agencies and first responders.
It also asked local police to consider having some officers carry naloxone.
A statement from Toronto police deputy chief Mike Federico advised anyone dealing with an overdose to call 911.
"To the Toronto Police Service, an overdose call is a medical emergency, not a law enforcement issue," it read. "Our job is to get treatment to those who need it as soon as possible."
Toronto Public Health's most recent data on opioid fatalities indicates that 87 people died from opioid use in the first half of 2016, with 135 deaths in 2015.