Ottawa

Sandy Hill health centre a step closer to supervised drug injection site

The Sandy Hill Community Health Centre is one step closer to realizing its goal of having a supervised drug injection site after its board of directors voted Wednesday night to submit an exemption application to Health Canada.

Downtown centre hopes to have supervised drug injection site open by summer 2017

The Sandy Hill Community Health Centre is proposing a supervised injection site on Rideau Street. (CBC)

The Sandy Hill Community Health Centre is one step closer to realizing its goal of having a supervised drug injection site after its board of directors voted Wednesday night to submit an exemption application to Health Canada.

Earlier this month, Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins expressed his support for the centre's plans in a letter to federal Health Minister Jane Philpott. Health Canada would have to approve an exemption under the federal Controlled Drugs and Services Act to open the facility.

Rob Boyd, the director of the centre's Oasis program, previously told CBC Ottawa that a supervised injection site could be open by the summer if funding negotiations go well. It would be the first site of its kind in Ottawa.

The Rideau Street community centre has proposed a facility that would provide supervised injections to between 80 and 150 people a day, many of whom already use the centre for other reasons.

On average, 48 people die in Ottawa of drug-related causes each year, according to the centre. Ottawa also has Ontario's highest rates of HIV and Hepatitis C among people who inject drugs, according to health unit statistics.

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