Sudbury

'We need help' — Sault Ste. Marie trying to tackle opioid crisis, but continues to call for provincial $

Sault Ste. Marie is working to find local ways to ease the opioid crisis, but says it still needs help from the provincial government to save lives.

New neighbourhood resource centre and 'wellness bus' seen as local solutions to addiction epidemic

There are local efforts to ease the opioid crisis in Sault Ste. Marie, but the city says it still needs help from the provincial government. (CBC)

Sault Ste. Marie is working to find local ways to ease the opioid crisis, but says it still needs help from the provincial government to save lives.

City council heard Monday night of a joint effort by local health and social service agencies to launch a "wellness bus" this spring, to help those in need.

There are also plans to re-open the Neighbourhood Resource Centre in the old Sacred Heart school, complete with a new men's shelter and 20 transitional housing beds.

The centre had closed in the early days of the opioid crisis, around the same time the drug detox services available in the Sault were reduced.

"We were really going backwards in the opioid crisis," said city councillor Luke Dufour, promising that this is "just the beginning of those efforts."

Dufour tabled yet another motion at the council meeting calling on the provincial government to provide funding for expanded drug rehabilitation programs at Sault Area Hospital. It passed unanimously.

"What you're seeing today is an effort that is borne out of the community trying to address the challenges that it faces. But we need more help from the provincial government," said Mayor Christian Provenzano. 

"So I don't want anybody out there who is in need of help thinking that we're sitting here thinking the job is done."

Provenzano also called on the federal government to help out cities trying to manage an addiction crisis that is "becoming more acute."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Erik White

journalist

Erik White is a CBC journalist based in Sudbury. He covers a wide range of stories about northern Ontario. Connect with him on Twitter @erikjwhite. Send story ideas to erik.white@cbc.ca

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